The boot is back. For another year, West Haven is keeping drivers who’ve dodged or missed paying car taxes from putting the pedal to the metal. The city began putting the wheel-locking boots on cars on Sunday for residents who owe $150 or more on car taxes.
Nellie Thorpe recently returned from the hospital for cancer treatment and said he couldn’t make the payment on time.
“Trying to get three kids in the car, and then I realized, when I went around the other side, we aren’t going anywhere,” Thorpe said.
The city began putting the wheel-locking boots on cars on Sunday for residents who owe $150 or more on car taxes. The boots won’t come off until those back taxes and the $150 boot fee are paid to the city – a minimum $300.
Those who don’t make the payment within 48 hours risk having their car towed.
Seth Mastej said he has seen at least two cars booted in his neighborhood.
“These people are in trouble,” Mastej said. “If they’re low-income people, they’re going to have a hard time paying for everything.”
He said the punishment doesn’t fit the crime, because if people can’t drive, “then they miss work and then they can’t work or pay anything.”
The city has hired vendors to get the job done and they are using infrared license plate scanners to find the delinquents.
West Haven residents are encouraged to check the city’s website to find out if they owe back taxes. You can pay online, or stop by the tax office at city hall.