BANGOR, Maine — City councilors have proposed increasing the fine for overtime parking downtown from $12 to $15 to help offset municipal revenue losses — just one year after the fines increased from $10 to $12.
The increase received approval Tuesday by the council’s infrastructure committee but still needs support of the full City Council because it is part of the proposed 2010-11 municipal budget.
“The parking fine proposal was brought forward as a way to generate revenue without creating a new fee or tax,” said Bob Farrar, interim city manager. “I think fines are seen as penalties for violating the law and therefore not necessarily a fee.”
The downtown parking advisory committee recommended last April that the city increase the fine from $10 to $15. However, after much debate, a majority of councilors decided that an increase of $5 was too much so they settled on a smaller increase to $12.
By increasing the overtime fee from $12 to $15, the city would generate an estimated $40,000 annually, although that money helps only to subsidize the costs associated with issuing tickets and monitoring parking offenders.
In addition to the proposed increase, the amendment includes a provision that, if the fine is not paid within 30 days, it doubles to $30.
The proposed parking fine change is one of many discussions related to parking in downtown Bangor, which is always a controversial topic.
Also last year, the city increased monthly parking rates for all downtown parking lots between $3 and $10, depending on the location of the lot. Additionally, the city will reduce the number of courtesy tickets it allows from four to three annually.
Finally, councilors approved an increase in the time allowed for most downtown spots from 60 minutes to 90 minutes to better accommodate the lunch crowd and retail shoppers.