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Daxon: Brea to try sweeping streets less often

Sweeping changes were recently made to Brea’s nearly 10-year-old street sweeping program.

Beginning in March, our residential streets will be swept only twice a month instead of weekly. The ticketing of parking violators during street sweeping will be suspended for a one-year trial period.

Bi-monthly sweeping is more cost-effective for the city, City Manager Bill Gallardo said via email, because the city had to use two full-time employees for weekly sweeping, but with bi-monthly sweeping only one employee is needed.  Four parking control officers sharing two vehicles are also no longer needed.

“Staff will report back on how the twice-monthly program is working and what impact no enforcement is having on keeping our streets clean,” he said.

It’s hard to realize it has been nearly 10 years since Brea’s City Council approved parking citations for folks who didn’t move their cars on their weekly street sweeping day.  The main reason for citations? The city could highly profit from it.

I checked on a column I wrote in July 2009 about the new street sweeping program. Back then, we were told that  $700,000 to $1.4 million was expected annually from street sweeping citations, based on 48,000 violations per year. Many people questioned those figures and thought if the city needed extra revenue it shouldn’t be dependent on parking violators.

But that big windfall never happened. For one thing, people got smart and parked their cars in driveways or other legal parking areas during sweeping time.  And the resolution was later modified to only a two-hour no-parking window when the sweeper would be by your residence. After it passed you could park at the curb once again. That surely cut down on citation revenue.

According to Gallardo, in fiscal year 2016-17, Brea had $159,000 in fines.

“The total costs of personnel compensation and vehicle operation for that time period was approximately $61,600, “ he said. Added to that, he said, was about  $54,060 or 34 percent in surcharges and processing fees. Making that fiscal year’s actual yield $43,000.

While others have challenged that yield figure, Gallardo confirmed it and said that the prorated cost of the two vehicles used for street sweeping parking violations, and the 80 percent of time the parking control officers spent handing the violations was the reason.

How is street sweeping conducted in our neighboring cities? Residential streets in Placentia are also swept twice a month and every other week in Yorba Linda. Neither city tickets parking violators. Streets are swept weekly in Fullerton and La Habra. But if you don’t move your vehicle on your sweeping day in La Habra, expect to get ticketed.

I think most of us will keep our cars off the street during the two-hours we can expect the sweeper. But if we have visitors who are unaware it is street sweeping time, at least they won’t be ticketed.

We’ll be watching to see how this bi-monthly system works out.  I’ve never noticed any crud-filled gutters in Placentia or Yorba Linda neighborhoods.

Terri Daxon is a freelance writer and the owner of Daxon Marketing Communications. She gives her perspective on Brea issues twice a month. Contact her at daxoncomm@earthlink.net.


Source: Orange County Register

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