Atlanta approves budget for 2,000 cops; parking fine increase

by: Craig Lucie Updated:

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More than 2,000 Atlanta police officers will soon be patrolling the streets after the Atlanta City Council approved a $542 million budget.

“There should be an additional 100 officers at a minimum, and that should take us over 2,000 for the first time in this city’s history,” council member H. Lamar Willis told Channel 2’s Craig Lucie.

It was a goal that city leaders hoped to accomplish in 2007. The 2013 fiscal year budget also increases the city’s reserve fund to more than $110 million.

That’s a substantial increase from the city’s 2009 reserves, which the mayor’s office said was around $8 million.

“The problems are out,” Willis stated.

But some drivers said City Council members created more problems Monday when they voted to increase parking fines from $25 to $35.

“I think it’s excessive; $25 to $50 was a lot before,” said driver Luis Lozada.

By increasing the fines, the city will try to recoup a $4 million loss after it changed the contract with Park Atlanta.

After two weeks, an unpaid ticket will now jump to $70. After 45 days, the fee will increase to $95.

Some said that will make things even more frustrating when they find problems with parking equipment.

 “When we find a place to park, sometimes the machines don’t work,” said Samuel Ibanez. He said he ran into that problem when he received a ticket a few weeks ago.

When Lucie asked Willis about how they justified the vote when so many are upset about the increase, he said the only reason you will get that fine is if you don’t pay for parking. He added that the fees to park have not gone up.


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