The city of Atlanta Wednesday officially proposed increasing fines for parking violations by $10, but the city council still wants one of its committees to hammer out the details before it gives its approval.
Atlanta wants to recoup the nearly $4 million in revenue it lost when it changed its contract agreement with ParkAtlanta. After an arbitrator ruled in ParkAtlanta's favor, the city's revenue stream dropped from $5.5 million to $1.5 million.
So now, the city is proposing increasing parking violation fines from $25 to $35. If a violator is two weeks late paying that fine, it will go up to $70. And if the payment is 45 days late, the fine will go up to $95. Also, if a violator appeals the ticket to municipal court and loses, the court could hit them with a penalty of up to $1,000.
Council member H. Lamar Willis said business leaders he spoke with don't mind the fine increase -- so long as the city doesn't change enforcement hours.
"(They said) we're OK. We're comfortable with fines being doubled, tripled, even quadrupled," said Willis. "We just want to leave the times in place as they are."
Council member Alex Wan expressed concern over the visibility of the pay-parking spaces. He suggested painting them blue so people would know immediately if they were parking in one of them.
"So that when someone not [living] in the city comes in and parks and goes into a store in Virginia-Highland, they know they've got to pay here," said Wan. "There's no ambiguity."
The council voted to allow one of its committees to hammer out all the details before it votes on the complete budget on June 18.
Outside, driver Sharon Worthy steamed when she heard about the possible fine increases. She was downtown to pay a parking ticket she received in Little Five Points.
"I think it's a money-making scheme," said Worthy. "There's no other reason for it. They're trying to make money. Those of us who don't have full-time jobs, we can't afford to be paying these stupid tickets."