By Frank Lewis
The city of Portsmouth got into the impound business in June of 2015, and since then have shown some impressive numbers for the city coffers. For example, the impound fees from the month of August totaled $5,705. Add to that $6,502.44 from the first police impound auction on Aug. 29, and the total revenue since the facility was opened in June is $21,627.44.
The Daily Times talked with Portsmouth Police Chief Robert Ware about the numbers produced by the impound lot.
“The Police Department continues to look for ways to become more efficient and fiscally responsible in the deliverance of police services to the community. The creation of a city managed impound yard is one of several projects the Police Department is working on to increase both,” Ware said. “This project has allowed us to streamline the process of retrieving an impounded vehicle. By eliminating the outside contract for vehicle storage, and contracting with approved tow operators, the Police Department acts as the one stop shop for all fees associated with the impoundment of a vehicle.”
Ware said instead of a citizen coming to the Police Department and paying an impound fee by cash or money order, then going to the storage facility and paying additional fees to obtain the vehicle, all payment of fees and paperwork is conducted at the Police Department Records Bureau.
“In addition, we have installed the hardware necessary to allow the public to pay by debit and credit card. Once the release is obtained, an officer escorts the vehicle owner to the impound lot to retrieve their vehicle,” Ware said. “These improvements will greatly improve the efficiency of operations and allows us to provide better customer service to the public and reducing the amount of time it takes to retrieve a vehicle. It also allows us to maintain greater access, control and security over impounded vehicles, which is critical when the vehicle is held for evidentiary purposes.”
Ware said while the management of the impound lot is time consuming, it was determined to be economically viable.
“We were able to use existing City property to establish the impound lot with expanded security features at minimal costs, allowing us to keep the funds that were generally bypassing the City and provides sufficient revenue to cover the operational costs and upkeep of the facility,” Ware said. “We are already looking for ways to improve the facility to meet future needs. The revenue generated so far has been consistent with what was forecast in the preliminary budget projections.”
Reach Frank Lewis at 740-353-3101, ext. 1928, or on Twitter @franklewis.