Parking fines are going up

Tuesday, November 11, 2003

Staff Writer

BRIDGETON -- Illegal parking fines will likely be significantly increased by the end of the year, city Council President George McLaughlin declared Monday.

McLaughlin had proposed in February that council double, even triple, the fines.

Among the many changes he proposed earlier in the year, McLaughlin recommended council approve an ordinance raising the fine for double parking from $12.50 to $40, the fine for all-night parking from $12.50 to $30, and the fine for parking on a sidewalk from $22.50 to $66.

Those found parking "on what is normally and reasonably considered a front lawn" would be assessed a $75 fine.

Mayor Michael Pirolli warned that, without a collection history to show the state, the increased revenue any discussed fee hikes would provide cannot be put toward the ongoing 2004 budget crunch.

city officials are facing.

It would, however, prove effective toward supplementing the 2005 fiscal year budget.

The 2004 budget will be adopted within the next fee weeks, Pirolli said.

Council members were also informed the increase to parking fines could be necessary, even beyond providing a much-needed revenue boost, because the state has added several deductions to the list of money it takes from each municipal parking ticket issued.

"The state is grabbing a little bit extra from tickets," Business Administrator Charles Kolakowski said.

Kolakowski said the state will begin deducted $2 from each ticket Dec. 21 to go toward DNA analysis, and beginning Feb. 2, 2004, will take $1 toward Autism research and programs.

The state was already taking $1 from each ticket to put toward police body armor grants and $1 for spinal cord research, he said.

Additionally, the state was taking $2.50 per ticket for implementation of other policing and prosecution programs.

If increases to the current fines are not made "some of the tickets we will be netting out to zero," Kolakowski said

"All you have to decide is what to do with the time that is given you."
Gandolf the Gray