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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.