November 30, 2011 | 08:14 AMCome spring and the installation of the city's new meter kiosk system, parking rates will be $1 per hour per space.
However, a change to parking ticket fines remains in limbo.
On Nov. 21, during the city's 2011 budget meeting, the council also adopted a revised schedule of fees for 2012. The two significant changes, as stated by Alderman Tom Hartz,were regarding parking.
While there was no further discussion about the space rate increase from 50 cents per hour to $1 per hour in the downtown, a discussion ensued about when a parking ticket fine doubled from the original $12 to $24.
Currently, a parking ticket is $12, but after five days, the fine doubles to $24.
Aldermen discussed changing the five days to 15 before the parking ticket doubles.
Mayor Jim Connors was adamant that the parking ticket rate would not change, but the additional days to pay the fine, would be "more customer friendly."
Alderman Frank Marsala said he believed the extra 10 days is a good thing.
"For the out of town tourists, this is adequate time," he said. "It's a courtesy and a practical one. I think it is fair."
But, Alderman Todd Krause disagreed. He suggested the additional days would "complicate" the system and worsen the situation.
"The five days encourages them to pay that day," he said.
City Comptroller Peg Pollitt explained the ticket process. Once a ticket is received by the vehicle owner, they have five days to pay the $12. If the payment is received beyond five days, the fine doubles to $24. Typically, letters to those who have outstanding tickets are sent out about a month to two months from the date of the ticket being issued.
Although some aldermen appeared ready to make the change from five days to 15 before the fine doubles, city staff said there still are six months of tickets that state people have five days before the fine doubles.
There were also concerns about making people aware of the change if it wasn't accurate on the tickets being issued.
It appears as though the next time the ticket paper is purchased, the change will be made.
"When we run out of tickets, we will change it," Connors said.
"We should leave it at five days and there will be plenty of time to order the tickets," Marsala said.
Aldermen agreed to not have the change from five days to 15 days go into effect until the city runs out of the existing tickets.