As of Sept. 1, parking fines in Red Deer are set to rise significantly, but the incentive to pay a ticket early has also increased.
The increase in fees stems from an announcement from the provincial government indicating they will begin to charge municipalities a surcharge of $15 to search for personal information including the name and address of the vehicle owner. However, if a ticket is paid within 10 days, a search is not required.
Council voted in favour of increasing parking penalties by $25 to accommodate this surcharge. For example, a meter violation will carry a penalty of $50. However, if the parking fee is paid within 10 days, the ticket holder will only pay $20.
“I think this option achieves the best balance for the community,” said Councillor Tara Veer. “The early payment reduction softens the blow for those individuals who weren’t aware they were in violation.”
City administration said the increase to parking fines is reasonable compared to other municipalities.
Based on 2010 data, 34.5% of tickets issued in the City were paid within 10 days. The increase in initial ticket value along with the $35 early payment reduction may result in more tickets being paid within 10 days. The $55 fee was set based on the assumption that there would be an increase in early ticket payments from 34.5% to 58%.
If that number exceeds 58%, the required revenue to meet budget expectations would not be achieved.
“It will be interesting to see how a higher reduction number will impact those paying tickets. I predict we’ll see more people who pay early,” said Veer.
Councillors Chris Stephan and Frank Wong voted against the increase to parking fines.