Ticket dodgers to face bigger fines starting Monday

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, August 22, 2012

By Emily Ford
SALISBURY — Starting Monday, the city is cracking down on parking violators.
Parking tickets will remain $5 each, but procrastinators and repeat offenders will face additional fines, including:
• A $20 late fee for tickets more than 30 days old.
• A $50 fine for the fourth ticket issued within one month. Any additional tickets issued within that month come with a $50 fine.
City Council approved the new fees last year but enforcement has been delayed until now.
Salisbury Police Department needed to redesign the parking tickets, buy software to track repeat offenders and make it compatible with existing internal programs, Police Chief Rory Collins and Capt. Sheila Lingle told City Council Tuesday.
The stiffer parking penalties come in response to complaints from police and Downtown Salisbury Inc.
Officials told council members last year that 25 people who work downtown often park in two-hour spots intended for customers. Taking up those spaces hour after hour, day after day, costs merchants an estimated $1.6 million in lost revenues each year, said Randy Hemann, executive director for Downtown Salisbury Inc.
The Post has requested the names of the 25 worst parking offenders. Collins said he will provide the list but compiling the names, which must be done manually, will take some time.
The new software will provide an automated tracking and billing system and quickly reveal if a vehicle meets the criteria for increased fines while the officer is ticketing the car.
Although the new fines begin Monday, parking tickets will look about the same until the police department receives a handheld electronic ticketing device, including a printer.
The pink tickets will include an explanation of the new deadlines and penalties.
Contact reporter Emily Ford at 704-797-4264.