ROCKLAND – Like it or not, fines for overtime parking and other parking violations will double in 30 days.
Whether a person parks a vehicle over the two-hour limit or leaves the lights on in a parked vehicle, the corresponding fine to be imposed will be twice that of the current “waiver fees.”
On Monday, city councilors voted 4-1, with Councilor Carol Maines opposed, to increase the parking “waiver fees” or fines by doubling them. The only fine that escaped the multiplication factor was for unauthorized use of a handicapped parking spot, which remains at $90.
Overtime parking tickets now will cost the offender $10, instead of $5.
For the occasional violator, the hike will not mean as much as it will to those who are frequent offenders. In the case of delinquent fines, the larger fees may give the city more incentive to seek court action to collect payments, Councilor Mark Curtis said.
“It seems to me that the waiver fees are high enough as it is,” Maines said.
The purpose of the fines is to ensure there are free parking spaces for people doing business downtown, Maines said. She pointed out that there are some important parking restrictions such as those for the handicapped and snow removal. However, making the fines twice as much may prove to make a person’s downtown experience not so pleasant, she said.
Maines indicated concern that even more people might ignore paying the fees if they doubled or that the increase might cause more people to oppose the tickets in court, making it cost the city either way to collect the fees.
Shortly before the vote on the parking violation fees, City Attorney Greg Dorr responded to a councilor’s question about existing delinquent parking fines.
From Jan. 1, 2001, to Sept. 30, 2001, there were 276 unpaid parking fines, Dorr said. Of those tickets issued, 40 percent were to people who have three or more tickets, he said.
In 2000, the number of unpaid tickets was 298, with 38 percent held by people with three or more tickets.
In an effort to collect unpaid fines, Dorr told the council that he would start out by sending notices to the offenders with three or more outstanding tickets.
In other business, the council voted in first reading to sell the Grand Army of the Republic building, also known as the Shore Village Museum, to Burpee, Carpenter & Hutchins Funeral Home for $170,000. A public hearing and final vote is set for Monday, April 8.
The council also recognized Rockland police Officer James Jillson for his 12 years as the Drug Awareness Resistance Education officer for Rockland and SAD 5. The council presented Jillson with a commendation for his efforts in educating area children about the hazards of drug and alcohol abuse and violence in the community.