Price hike for meter violations to benefit Urbana

On Monday night, the Urbana City Council will discuss amending the city’s local traffic code to implement higher fees for motorists whose parking meters expire. We support these amendments, as this would be an easy way to generate much-needed revenue which would not force the city to cut back on programs. More importantly, the amendments are harmless for law-abiding citizens.

The existing fine ordinance states that if the ticket is issued downtown, the motorist pays $5. If the ticket is issued on campus or on other areas of Urbana, the motorist pays $10. The amended ordinance states that if the ticket is issued downtown, the motorist’s fee is waived after the first offense, costs $10 for the second offense and costs $15 for the third offense and for any additional offenses. If the ticket is issued elsewhere, the first offense costs $10, the second offense is $15,and the third offense and any additional offenses are $20. Though the cost of the fines increased overall, it is important to remember that the ordinance only reinforces the principle that if citizens break the law, they must face the consequences. No matter the cost of the fine, the motorist broke the law. If anything, the ordinance encourages people to obey the law.

Overall, the proposed amended ordinance generates revenue in a harmless and fair manner. The city was expected to generate $31.5 million in revenue this year but is now looking at seeing only $29.6 million of that total come in. Urbana must find a way to collect money to stay afloat and continue its day-to-day operations. These amendments offer a way for the city to retrieve money without imposing what would surely be an unpopular tax hike or discontinuing any important services which community residents rely on. Residents should be glad the city is offering a way to collect money that would not affect them as long as they abide the law.

We need to find a compromise with the city to collect the needed revenue. These amendments may not only a painless way to raise money; they might also prove to be helpful for the city and its residents.