Parking ticket increase sought

Police chief asks council to consider nearly 900% hike

For the nearly 400 people who have been ticketed for parking somewhere they shouldn’t in Greenwood since 2014, the price has been minimal, with a $15 fine.

Future offenders could take a much larger hit to their wallets because the Greenwood City Council is looking at raising the fee to as much as $140.

Greenwood Police Chief John Laut asked the council to consider raising the penalty for drivers who park somewhere they shouldn’t, since the current fee is not enough to act as a deterrent and ends up costing the city more money to enforce than it brings in, he said.

The question of ticket costs came up in a recent city council discussion about creating parking restrictions in a Greenwood neighborhood where residents say too many cars are left parked on the streets. The homeowners association of the Summerfield neighborhood has requested that parking be restricted to just one side of streets in the neighborhood.

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For those types of restrictions to be useful, the penalty for following the rules needs to be severe enough that it will actually stop people from parking where they shouldn’t, Laut said.

The amount of work that goes into tracking the tickets, sending out notices and collecting the money costs the city more than what it receives from the tickets, said Greenwood City Clerk Jeannine Myers, whose office is responsible for collecting fines from parking tickets.

Since 2014, police officers have issued nearly 400 tickets, with about 300 of those tickets being paid.

Council member Brent Corey has proposed raising the fine from $15 to $140. He wasn’t available Friday. Other council members said they approved of raising the fine, but suggested lowering the fine below $140.

“If we increase it to where it hurts, then it will be more respected and obeyed than just getting a simple $15 fine,” council member Ron Bates said.

However, Bates said that hiking the fine to $140 was excessive, and he would prefer the fine to be raised to somewhere around $50.

Council president Mike Campbell agreed that the $15 fine is too low.

“$15 isn’t much of a deterrent,” Campbell said.

But he also would prefer a figure between $15 and $140 if the fine were to be increased, he said.

By the numbers

Drivers who receive a parking ticket in Greenwood currently are charged a $15 fine, but the city council is considering raising that amount to as much as $140. Here’s a look at how many tickets have been given out and paid in the past four years:

Year;parking tickets given out;parking tickets paid

2014;76;69

2015;129;108

2016;95;77

2017;73;59

Author photo
Jacob Tellers is a reporter at the Daily Journal. He can be reached at jtellers@dailyjournal.net or 317-736-2702.