Parking Fines Are Poised To Increase

Published 3:38 pm Thursday, March 6, 2014

FARMVILLE — A snowstorm postponed town council’s public hearing on new parking meter and overtime parking violation fines last month.

Dodging ice and snow this week, the public hearing will be held, at 6:45 p.m., as part of town council’s March 12 meeting next Wednesday night.

The Town proposes to increase those fines from $10 to $25 and the fines would double if not paid within 15 calendar days from the date of the citation.

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The 15-day provision would apply to all traffic ordinance violations in the town.

Another change would allow the Town to have vehicles towed away, at their owner’s expense, if they are left illegally parked more than two hours after the ticket is written.

Council also proposes making the parking overtime violation enforceable 24 hours a day.

Additionally, the Town would have the legal right to have any vehicle parked in violation of the ordinance towed away.

Town officials are acting from frustration with the number of people who ignore parking tickets.

There have also been complaints from Main Street merchants about other Main Street merchants parking on Main Street in spots intended for customers.

“We’ve been having some issues with people that are parking on the meters on Main Street. I don’t know if you want to increase the fines for parking on Main Street,” town manager Gerald Spates told council members during a November meeting.

Not only did the $10 fine do too little to combat recidivist parking violators but the Town also spent more time and money persuading parking violators to pay up than officials thought practical.

“When you go through the process of trying to collect from some people you have to end up sending two to three notices, threaten to take them to court, and all this other stuff before you collect ten dollars,” Spates said.

The Town would often have to send out two or three notices “and still people don’t pay it and you end up going (to court) for a ten-dollar ticket,” Spates told council members. “It’s a lot of work.”

There are people, the town manager said, “who don’t pay attention to the parking on Main Street.”

Town council expects $25 might get more people’s attention and if it takes more than 15 days to collect the money the extra time and effort would result in $50 if the new fines are approved next week.