Parking fines may be raised in the city

Preliminary approval given to bill that may net $5 million annually

April 29, 2003|By Tom Pelton | Tom Pelton,SUN STAFF

The City Council gave preliminary approval last night to legislation that would boost city parking fines by as much as 40 percent as a way to bring the cash-strapped city government more revenue.

The final vote on the measure is scheduled Monday.

City Councilman Robert W. Curran's bill would raise fines for violation of parking meter laws to $25 from $18, boost residential parking fines to $40 from $25, and raise other fines for parking violators.

Curran said the increases could bring the city another $5 million a year. That would be on top of the $15 million annually the city collects in parking fees and penalties.

"If anybody else has any ideas to raise revenues, without layoffs to city employees or tax increases, I'd be happy to hear them," Curran said. "This is a way to raise revenues from people who aren't following our laws."

About three-quarters of the 400,000 parking tickets handed out every year are given to people who live outside the city, Curran said.

The increase would follow on the heels of a proposed 9 percent increase in city water rates.

City Councilwoman Lisa Joi Stancil said she objected to Curran's proposed increases because city residents already feel overburdened by increases in city water fees.

"They are going to complain, `There you go again, dipping into our pockets,'" Stancil said. "We have a real shortage of parking in the city. ... I don't think that parking fines should be a new source of revenue for us."

At last night's meeting, the council voted 12-5 on the second of three readings of the bill. Along with Stancil, council members Helen L. Holton, Nicholas C. D' Adamo Jr., Keiffer J. Mitchell Jr. and Agnes Welch voted against the increase.

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