Get ready to pay more for those parking tickets, Midtown. That is if legislation proposed by Atlanta City Councilman Lamar Willis is approved.
The councilman, who is elected citywide, wants to raise the initial fine for an overstayed meter by $10 to $35. If the ticket is not paid within 14 days, the fee would double to $70. And the penalty would increase to $95 if the ticket is not paid in full within 45 days of issuance.
The transportation committee of the council will hold a public hearing today, Wednesday, June 13, and will take public comments on the matter. The 1:30 p.m. meeting will take place at City Hall, located at 55 Trinity Avenue. For more information, call 404-330-6215.
The proposed increase will apply to tickets issued for overtime parking at metered spaces and not to residential permit parking violators. Those will still be ticketed $25 and if it’s not paid within 14 days, the fine will jump to $50.
The changes could come up for vote by the council on Monday, June 18. They come after city officials considered last month extending parking enforcement hours at meters past midnight around the city. But a pushback from residents led to that proposal quietly dying.
All of the proposals are being considered in an effort to recoup approximately $4 million that the city will not receive as a result of an arbitrator’s ruling that PARKatlanta does not need to pay the city almost three-quarters of what it originally was contracted to pay. This came about after the city council last year restricted the Milwaukee-based company’s operations with a moratorium on reduced hours and new meters.
It was reported that the $4 million difference would be enough to afford 50 police officers.
Since PARKatlanta began issuing tickets almost 31 months ago, more than 150,000 unpaid tickets have run up a total of $7.4 million. The latest proposed increase in fines would not be applied retroactively.
City Councilman Kwanza Hall, whose district encompasses Midtown and parts of downtown, has been critical of the city’s contract with PARKatlanta. Last month, he suggested ending the contract with PARKatlanta, which would cost about $8 million for each year left on the contract. The contract would expire in about two-and-a-half years.
“You sometimes need to know when to cut and move on and get a better deal,” Hall said.
About half of PARKatlanta’s 2,500 meters are in Hall’s district and critics have complained that the organization’s enforcement has targeted the city’s entertainment and business centers, which Midtown is tops for in Atlanta.
So Midtown, are you ready to pay more for those parking tickets?