Thursday, June 7, 2012

The prospect of paying a $95 parking ticket makes me very upset

Posted By on Thu, Jun 7, 2012 at 2:51 PM

click to enlarge CL FILE

Allow me to opine for a moment: Atlanta's decision to privatize parking enforcement was a bad one. Whew. That felt good.

The city was supposed to get $5.5 million a year out of the deal, but because PARKatlanta, the outsourced enforcement firm (a branch of Wisconsin-based Duncan Solutions), isn't bringing in enough money, the city is only getting $1.5 million a year. As a writer who knows how to do math points out, that's 73 percent less than the amount originally promised in the contract.

The Reed administration and city council are working on strategies to boost PARKatlanta's revenue. First, they considered 24-hour enforcement in some parts of the city. No one thought that was a good idea, particularly business owners in those areas. The latest strategy is another that blows for the parking public: raising the price of parking tickets.

Currently, the fine for parking at an expired meter is $25. After 14 days, that fine goes up to $50. That's the ceiling. The proposed changes, first of all, increase the cost of overtime tickets to $35 from $25, so after 14 days, the fine jumps to $70 instead of $50. The changes also extend the sliding scale for increased fines — after 45 days, overtime tickets would go up to $95.

Obviously, one can avoid paying $95 by simply paying citations on time. But it's the principle, isn't it? The city makes a deal with a private company that can't make as much money as it thought it would, so the public has to pay for it one way or another. Is what's happening.

This latest proposal will be discussed at the June 13 meeting of city council's transportation committee. The public is welcome to attend, be heard.

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