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Hancock considers increase to parking fines

September 13, 2012|By DON AINES | dona@herald-mail.com

Raising the cost of a parking ticket from the current $7 to as much as $25 dollars was discussed at Wednesday’s meeting of the Hancock Town Council.

“We’ve seen a decrease in revenues from parking meters,” Town Manager David Smith said.

Because of that, the position of a parking meter reader was eliminated and ticketing duties are now solely in the hands of police officers, he said.

The town’s Police Commission has discussed raising the price of tickets from $7, unless the offender pays on the same day it was issued, in which case the fine is reduced to $3, Smith said.

Smith said he believes the problem is mostly with local people who ignore the parking meters or fail to put in enough quarters.

The idea is not necessarily to fine more people, but to get drivers to put the proper amount of money in the meters, Smith said.

“The goal is pay your quarter an hour,” he said.

“It’s a source of amusement to some people that a parking ticket is only $3,” Councilman Sinclair Hamilton said.

Higher ticket prices might encourage more people to buy downtown parking passes, which Smith said cost about $10.

If the fine for a parking ticket was raised to $25, it could still have a discount for those who pay them on the same day, perhaps $10, Smith said.

Potentially raising the fine raised some concerns with Councilman Dennis Hudson, who said he was concerned more with the effect higher fines would have on visitors to the town.

“I know people are upset by the speed cameras,” Hudson said, referring to the system that tickets speeders going through the school zone. Higher parking fines might also discourage people from visiting, he said.

“Are we seeing any records that our men in uniform are getting out of their cars and checking the meters?” Councilman Nigel Dardar asked Police Chief T.J. Buskirk.

Buskirk said the officers probably could spend more time checking meters.

The council took no action on raising the ticket fees.

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