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Paynesville Press - February 6, 2002

Fewer parking tickets issued after fee increase

By Michael Jacobson

Parking ordinance sign After the fees for parking tickets were raised in 2001, the Paynesville Police Department issued 27 percent fewer tickets than in 2000.

In December 2000, the Paynesville City Council approved raising parking ticket fees. Previously, fines were $5 per parking offense, which frustrated the police, who believed the low fee did little to encourage adherence to the parking ordinance.

"They didn't really mind paying the $5 fine," explained Paynesville Police Chief Tony Schmitt. Police felt many people just used the street for extra parking.

The new fee scale, started in 2001 and in place for a year now, is $10 for the first and second parking tickets in a year and $25 for the third and subsequent offenses. Police issued only one $25 parking ticket in 2001, according to Schmitt.

In 2000, the police issued 171 parking tickets. In 2001, 124 were issued, a drop of 47 tickets and a decline of 27 percent. "It appears that raising the fee had quite a bit of impact," explained Schmitt. "We did have quite a drastic decrease."

"I'd like to see it another year, but it sure looks like it's had an effect," he added.

Among other requirements, the city parking ordinance includes a ban on overnight parking from 2 to 6 a.m. from Nov. 1 through March 31.

Publicity of the new ordinance and increased fees also helped in reducing the number of parking tickets in 2001, said Schmitt. Requirements of the city ordinance are published periodically in the Press and broadcast on the public- access channel on cable television.

Signs for the parking ordinance on roads are in place on the roads leading into the city. Erecting signs on every street in Paynesville would be difficult, said Schmitt.

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