Friday, September 12, 2008

New Castle County attempts to balance budget with new hidden tax on your yard

At least that's what the NCCo instant ticket program for unsightly yards and properties really appears to be for.

Last year, New Castle County collected $74,425 in fines for people violating code.

But going through all that pesky red tape--you know, actual charges and a judge and all that--was apparently too time-consuming or too costly (kind of like those damn FISA surveillance rules), so authorities implemented the instant ticket.

Here's how this new, highly efficient system works:

Step one: some neighbor rats you out for an inoperable car parked in your driveway.

Step two: an inspector shows up and writes you a $50 ticket.

Step three: you either plead guilty and send in the money, or plead not guilty and send in the money. [Not much difference there, huh?]

Step four: an official from the same organization that wrote you the ticket rejects your appeal [because, after all, that inspector doesn't have to worry about that funky old presumption of innocence thing].

Step five: the county waits a couple weeks and sends somebody back out to ticket you again [probably for the oil stain left when you towed the car away].

In seven weeks this program has raised $81,700. Annualized, that's $606,914.29.

That means they are on track to write 12,138 tickets.

Now, in theory, you'd think that there probably weren't 12,000 badly maintained properties in New Castle County.

But for money like this, you can bet the tax farmers will become inventive.


Anonymous said...

Someone call them on Bill Bell's lawn....and Paul Clarks.....

Tyler Nixon said...

Ending despicable schemes like this for godd in Delaware will be high on my list of legislative proposals, if I make it to Dover.

These intra-state "lesser" governments think that because they are below the radar, in a sense, and "local" that they can do away with things like due process and other guarantees against takings.

"Hey, it's only $50 right? Shut up and just pay it. We are running short on gold-plated ass-scratchers down at the County Government palace."