By Colin Hogan
Next month, the Fulton Common Council will be considering raising the city’s parking fines, which officials say are outdated and not compliant with state mandates.
The council will hold a public hearing on proposed changes to the parking ticket structure, which would alter both the initial fines for violations and how unpaid fines increase over time.
The city’s current structure applies $15 and $25 for basic parking tickets, and $50 for a handicapped parking violation.
From there, unpaid fines on basic tickets increase every 10 days to a maximum of $65 on an initial $15 ticket, or up to $75 on a $25 ticket.
The recommendation for the new structure comes from Fulton Police Chief Orlo A. Green III, who said it’s been more than two decades since the fines have been updated.
“I’ve been here 21 years and it hasn’t been changed since before I was chief,” Green said.
Green proposes raising all basic parking fines to $30, which would then double after 30 days, rather than accrue gradually 10 days at a time. He says that would make the violations easier to track and enforce.
Green said there is also a state-mandated $30 surcharge that is supposed to be imposed on all handicapped parking violations. He said Fulton has never been compliant with this mandate, and proposes raising those fines to $80 to include the state’s surcharge.
“We wouldn’t be getting any more money from that, but the state would get its charge,” Green said.
Mayor Ron Woodward Sr. said Fulton is the only municipality in the area that isn’t compliant with that mandate, and said he believes a portion of those funds go to local agencies that assist people with disabilities.
“The handicapped (parking) fines are something we really need to do something about,” Woodward said.
Green said, because the city currently has to order new tickets from its supplier, the time is right to make the change.
The proposal also includes changes to city’s law regarding unregistered vehicles. Currently, the law only allows for tickets to be issued on vehicles that are being “operated” without a valid registration. Green is proposing an addition to the law that would include prohibiting unregistered vehicles from being parked on any city streets, as well.
The public hearing will be held at the beginning of the March 3 Common Council meeting at 7 p.m.