Parking tickets and passes: an FAQ

As of Oct 25, NVU-Johnson has received about $28,000 in parking permit sales, with incoming students asking the perennial question: where does the money go?

In the 2017/2018 academic year, there were $31,000 in permit sales and $37,000 in the following academic year, according to Public Safety Director Michael Palagonia.

Charging fees for parking is certainly not new. In 2007, Northern Vermont University-Johnson, at that time Johnson State College, began charging students for parking permits, granting them access to legally park on campus. Students who owned cars were then required to purchase a $50 parking permit, which was usable for the entire year.

In 2013, with the introduction of Permit Express, the price of parking permits rocketed from $50 per year to $75 per year and/or $50 per semester, which remains the price today.

Revenues gathered from purchases of parking permits are put toward various institutional expenses. According to Palagonia, the bulk of revenue from permit sales goes into the general budget and is spent on things such as caring for the parking lots.

When permit sales are made, the Public Safety Department does not directly receive any of the payment. Permit sales and money received from ticket payments all go to the same place. Permit sales are made through the internet where people register their vehicles through the school and then they are shipped their permit. Tickets are to be paid upfront in the Public Safety office. But, when money is received from either a permit sale or a ticket, the money goes directly into a general budget by the NVU Administration.

“It does not stay within the Public Safety budget,” stated Palagonia, adding that the money received from permit sales also partially goes toward getting the permits themselves, as it costs money to have them made and shipped to the school. Until the student receives their permit, a temporary permit is provided with every purchase.

Aside from parking permits, the school also receives money from those who violate the parking rules and regulations, in the form of a ticket. Tickets can range anywhere from $15 to in excess of $100 depending on the violation and how many tickets are received. Public Safety issues tickets for various violations such as being parked without displaying a permit, parking in reserved or prohibited areas, etc. When a ticket is issued, and the owner of the ticketed vehicle pays for the ticket, that money is used for ticketing supplies such as ticket paper and other assorted supplies.

Palagonia said that last year, the school billed approximately $10,000 worth of tickets, but that does not mean that they received payment for all tickets issued.

“Maybe ten percent of that is ever received,” Palagonia said, noting that recipients can always appeal the citations. “Sometimes we do make mistakes; we might not see someone’s permit and write them a ticket,” Palagonia said in response to the appeal process.

Palagonia notes that students frequently wonder why permits are required to park on campus. “Most colleges and universities, and even high schools charge for parking,” he said. “We have a relatively low permit fee. UVM currently charges $180 for a semester or $330 for an annual permit for residential students as an example. This is to help offset parking-related maintenance costs.”

One statistic to consider is the University of Vermont’s permit costs in comparison to Northern Vermont University because even though permits at the NVU Johnson campus are not cheap, UVM has proven to be much more expensive. Also, note that UVM does not allow cars for freshmen on campus.