City commission eyes parking fine increase

MARQUETTE – The Marquette City Commission is considering increasing parking ticket fines.

Under a budget proposal from the Marquette City Police Department, the fees for most city parking tickets would increase to $20.

Police Chief Mike Angeli told the city commission at a Tuesday morning work session that he had discussed the plan with city staff and the Marquette Downtown Development Authority.

“What we’re proposing is that we eliminate the integrated or the gradual fee increase … to basically double the previous fee of a parking fine from $10 to $20,” Angeli said.

The fee for violating parking restrictions where a sign is posted will remain at $50, as will the fees for violating the winter parking ban and for parking in the city right-of-way.

The fee for failing to display a handicap permit will remain at $5 and the fee for parking in a handicapped space without proper certification will stay at $100.

For an expired parking meter, the fine will increase from $5 to $10.

Fines for all other infractions will increase to $20.

Angeli told commissioners he anticipated the overall number of parking tickets issued to fall under the new fee structure, but the total amount of fines paid should increase.

“I think it’s safe to say that under the new fees, the revenues will be higher,” he said. “I wouldn’t say it would be doubled.”

He estimated revenues would increase by about 50 percent. This year the revenues will be an estimated $150,000.

Angeli said the fees were last raised in the late 1990s.

In addition, the proposal would eliminate late fees related to unpaid tickets. Currently, fines increase if they are not paid after two weeks. Angeli said the incremental increases have been deemed ineffective.

Commissioners, who began discussing the 2013-2014 budget this week, were accepting of the idea.

“I certainly would support the raises. I think they make a lot of sense,” Commissioner Fred Stonehouse said. “There isn’t really anything here that’s strange. … It’s kind of like no-brainer stuff.”

The commission is set to meet Tuesday for another budget discussion – focused on the DDA, the Peter White Public Library and the Marquette Brownfield Redevelopment Authority – and will schedule a public hearing for later in the month.

Tuesday’s meeting is scheduled for 8 a.m. in commission chambers at city hall.

Kyle Whitney can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 250.