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Tuesday, Apr 24, 2018
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NPR police impound lot project coming together

NEW PORT RICHEY — City council members are eager to see the police department start its own vehicle impound lot, and Councilman Bill Phillips asked last week if the project would come together soon.

Lt. Steven Kostas, acting chief, assured him the final improvements are falling into place at the police department, 6739 Adams St., where the lot will be located.

Council members approved a purchase to upgrade and install security lights for the parking lot.

The department got a quote of $6,805 for the lights from City Electric Supply of New Port Richey, according to a memo from Kostas.

Executives of J&J Electrical Enterprises in Port Richey said they could install the system for $1,724.

The city-run impound lot concept first came up at a June 4 city council meeting.

At that time, Police Chief Kim Bogart said he wanted to copy a Port Richey program that produces about $100,000 in revenue there.

At the moment, New Port Richey hires tow truck firms to haul vehicles to company impound lots. The city would still contract with the private towers but would take over the impound lot duties.

Bogart said the city already has a suitable site.

“The quicker you can start it, the better,” Councilman Chopper Davis said at the June meeting.

Some glitches have delayed the project, Kostas told Phillips Tuesday night.

A problem developed with a motorized gate but has since been resolved.

Officials had to double-check coverage of security cameras.

Better lighting could be the last piece of the puzzle “for security reasons, to protect the property against vandals,” Kostas wrote in his memo.

An ordinance became necessary for procedures for the preliminary and final hearings and amount of fines.

The city’s special magistrate would hear vehicle impound cases. City council members didn’t finalize functions of the special magistrate until October, however, and then had to hire several attorneys to fill the role.

The original impound lot proposal set a penalty of $200 for the first violation, $250 for the second violation and $500 for a third.

If the city prevails, it also could collect towing costs, storage fees and the costs for hearings before the special magistrate.

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