Proposed bill could bring parking fine relief

Measure would generate much-needed revenue, councilman says

April 30, 2010|By Julie Scharper, The Baltimore Sun

Those with overdue Baltimore parking tickets could squeak out of paying hefty fines under a measure to be introduced by a City Council member at Monday night's meeting.

Councilman Bill Henry has drafted a bill that would provide a five-day window for those with outstanding parking tickets to pay the original fine but be excused all late payments.

The goal, said Henry, is to lure in a large group to pay parking tickets, bringing a spike in funds to help close the city's $121 million budget shortfall.

In the past, the finance department has opposed periods of parking amnesty, saying it causes the city to lose money in the long run.

But Henry says that given the city's dire financial straits, an immediate bump in revenue could bring much-needed relief.

"If things are this bad, than maybe we should take a big chunk of our parking fine revenue upfront, rather than waiting for it to come in over the next couple years, he said."

Henry also plans to present a bill to levy a $5 per square foot tax on billboards at Monday's meeting.

It is unclear how much revenue either measure would produce. The finance department is expected to present estimates as the bills move through the committee hearing process.

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