Drivers with one or two overdue tickets will get a break from the "boot" in New Orleans

NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - The New Orleans City Council voted to give drivers with one or two overdue parking tickets a break.

Returning to a vehicle and finding a "boot" or immobilization device on a tire can ruin a driver's day.

"It's definitely onerous, working class people," said Councilman Jared Brossett after the council's vote.

He sponsored the ordinance to change current city law.

"It ups the threshold from one to three tickets, your unpaid tickets to be booted. The current law is one ticket which citizens throughout New Orleans say was very extreme," said Brossett.

His idea found support among his colleagues on the council.

"This is just wrong on every level to have a boot after one ticket," said Councilwoman Susan Guidry.

"I didn't know we could boot someone after one ticket.  That's outrageous," said Councilman James Gray.

No one in the public rose to speak on the measure. And in short order the council voted 7 to zero in favor of the ordinance.

Drivers on the street expressed delight.

"They've raised it to three, so that's a good thing, yeah, that's a good thing," said Rob Heltz.

"Yes, I mean it gives you more time even if you don't have the funds to pay it instead of you getting a boot on your ticket then you have to pay extra fees," Shamira Walker, another local driver.

"I mean that wasn't giving you much room for error when you're parking and trying to pay off tickets," said Heltz.

Brossett concedes that the change will come at cost for city for city government's bottom line.

He said the financial impact for the city could be about $600,000.

A member of Mayor Mitch Landrieu's administration said it could possibly exceed a million dollars.

"It could be more than that, you don't until you recognize how people's behavior reacts to changing from one boot to three and so this council retains the ability to change this later on if they see a significant impact," said Zach Butterworth.

"We're already cost burdened and I think this impact is well worth back into the pockets of our citizens," said Brossett.

Sen. J.P. Morrell, D-New Orleans filed a bill to accomplish the same thing in the state legislature.

"Two weeks ago, upon introduction of this ordinance he shelved his bill from consideration," Brossett said.