Fredericksburg City Beat

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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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Hearing on new parking fines set for January

City Council members tonight received a proposal to raise the parking fines collected through the Autochalk parking enforcement system.

You can see the entire proposal here, but basically, it would keep the fee-free warning and $15 fine for the first and second offenses. It would raise the fine for a third offense from $15 to $25; a fourth offense from $25 to $35 and all subsequent offenses to $45. In addition, all other parking violation fines (except for the $100 fine for parking in a handicapped spot) would go up by $10. That means double parking and parking in front of a hydrant would both go from $40 to $50 offenses.

The proposed fines could bring in between $15,000 and $18,000 in additional revenue per year.

This came up because Councilman Fred Howe III said last month that he’d like to see the city bring in more revenue with its fines. He said tonight that he’d still like to see a more aggressive fee structure to try to recoup the full costs of maintaining the Autochalk system. Police Chief David Nye gave a rough estimate tonight that that costs around $13,000 a year.

Councilman George Solley said he had thought back when Autochalk was approved that the fines should be higher to better encourage compliance. But he said he didn’t like the idea of hiking fees to bring in more revenue.

“I am somewhat uncomfortable basing our fine system on the financial need of the city,” he said.

He said he knows people who have opted to pay the current fines instead of obeying the parking rules, and that the proposed higher fees are OK with him.

Nobody else said anything, and City Manager Beverly Cameron said these fees would be advertised for a Jan. 11 public hearing.

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  • TPKeller

    Did anyone report on what the “offense number” is for a typical parking ticket? In other words, out of x parking tickets per year, how many are first, second, third, etc. offenses?

    That would tell us if people are treating the tickets/fines as their routine cost for parking.

    Fines should be high enough to prevent parking tickets from being the acceptable alternative to legal parking.

  • George

    In one of the links from, I believe, Emily’s blog earlier, there were reports from staff for expected revenue under th different plans including Mr. Howe’s plan. Those had a breakdown according to numbers of 1st, 2nd, etc. offenses.

    That said, don’t think someone getting a second or third offense classifies them as a scofflaw. It is very easy, especially if you easily lose track of time or if you eat at a very slow restaurant like Sammy T’s, to get a ticket now. I have seen tickets handed out for 5 minutes over the 2 hour limit, because the auto-chalk system doesn’t miss anyone.

    I should say that is an improvement – I received a ticket once for parking 1 hour and 50 minutes. That was because the parking officer only documented what time he started on each block and if he took longer or shorter for the block depending on how many tickets he wrote, he never took that into account.