Fredericksburg City Beat

This blog includes news about City Hall, city schools and other 22401 news.

Pamela Gould reports on City Hall. You can reach her at 540-735-1972 or Robyn Sidersky reports on city schools. You can reach her at 540-374-5413 or

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Enforcement with a smile (and maybe free ice cream)

You’ll read it in the paper tomorrow, and if it weren’t for American Idol, you might have watched it on T.V. tonight, but the City Council approved buying AutoChalk on a 4-3 vote today (Tomzak, Kelly, Devine and Solley for it; Dixon, Turner and Girvan against).

To counter arguments that the automated enforcement technology is too much of a “robotic ticket cop,” (as former Councilman Joe Wilson put it) officials pointed out that they’re proposing to make the first ticket that a motorist gets in the mail from the system a warning, accompanied by information on where they may park if they want to stay put for more than two hours on their next trip downtown.

Councilman Matt Kelly said this warning could provide a new venue to communicate with tourists from outside the city, who may have unwittingly violated the parking rules.

“Thank you for visiting,” the warning could say, “We hope you enjoyed your stay, and by the way, here are some places to park for longer than two hours when you come back.”

Kelly even suggested the message could include a coupon or voucher for a freebie at a downtown business.

Would you park illegally for 25 cents off an ice cream cone?