Parking enforcement contract delayed


Approval of a new contract with the Silver Spring company charged with enforcing Baltimore County's parking laws was delayed yesterday so that changes can be negotiated.

Patrick Roddy, lobbyist for County Executive Roger B. Hayden's administration, said the county will extend the current contract 30 to 45 days from its Oct. 31 expiration. Changes sought by Councilman Douglas B. Riley, a Towson Republican, and others will be made part of a new bid offering.

A scheduled council vote last night on a new $200,000 yearlong pact with J. L. Associates, which took over ticket-writing chores countywide in February, was postponed.

Before the postponement, Mr. Riley said he had a four-vote majority on a proposal that would have cut the number of enforcement officers countywide from five to four and would have made the agents appear less intimidating.

The changes would not hurt the county budget, he said, because agent collections are exceeding revenue projections.

Mr. Riley wants agents to wear uniforms that would be more civilian in appearance. Agents no longer would wear badges or baseball caps, and cars would relabeled to remove the word "enforcement."

Finally, he said, control of the contract should be shifted from the finance office, which Mr. Riley said is too interested in money above other considerations.

Mr. Riley complained last week that the firm's agents have been too zealous in handing out tickets -- mainly in Towson's central business area, but also in commercial centers like Dundalk and along Belair Road.

County officials have said the main purpose for hiring a private firm to write tickets was to relieve police officers of that duty, not to bolster county coffers.

Mr. Roddy said the short contract extension, which does not require council approval, will give the administration time to consider what qualities a parking enforcement contract should have.

However, Mr. Riley said he still favors use of the agents. "We need this in Towson" to keep drivers in the county seat from monopolizing meters, he said.

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