Borrowing space from employee parking for now, the impound lot opened on April 3, Police Chief Kim Bogart told City Council last week. Council approved the project instead of contracting with tow-truck companies to store the vehicles.
Police impounded 31 vehicles in the first month, Bogart said. Two dozen vehicles were returned to owners or finance companies.
The city can keep and sell unclaimed vehicles after several months, but such vehicles often are in such poor condition that they can’t fetch very much money, Bogart said.
As of May 8, seven vehicles remained in the impound lot.
Council members approved the impound ordinance in June 2013 and allotted up to $50,000 to build the facility.
Land adjacent to the police department on Adams Street is available, but several obstacles remain to develop it, Bogart said.
In the meantime, the police department encountered obstacles to securing the current impound lot, Bogart noted.
Gate motors for the police secure parking area failed, so the department had to replace the gate motors at a cost of $21,947. Lighting was insufficient, with upgrades costing $8,529. New lights were installed in early April.
The unexpected expenses meant the department no longer had enough money left in the $50,000 fund to develop the adjacent property, Bogart reported. Zoning issues also arose.
The police chief intends to secure estimates within the next few months to develop the property next door to the police department.