Urbana City Council may change parking fines to increase revenue

The Urbana City Council discussed reformation of the city’s parking fines and implementation of new meters at its Monday meeting.

In the downtown area, the new system would implement a complementary ticket for the first offense, a $10 ticket for the second offense and a $15 ticket for the third offense and all following offenses.

In Urbana’s portion of campus, fines will remain at $10 for the first offense, $15 for the second offense and $20 dollars for the third offense and all following offenses.

Diane Marlin, alderwoman for Ward 7, said the first impression of Urbana for many people who visit the campus is a ticket.

“I don’t know if there should be a two-tiered system within a few blocks,” Marlin said, referencing the different fines imposed for the downtown area and campus.

Brandon Bowersox, alderman for Ward 4, said he believes that the current rate for downtown tickets does not stop repeat offenders from paying parking meters.

“The fines are so low downtown that it is not even a deterrent,” Bowersox said.

Mayor Laurel Prussing said the fines are assessed differently for on- and off-campus tickets because the city wants to encourage business in the downtown area. She added that people are more likely to park downtown if the fines are lower for expired meters.

Charlie Smyth, alderman for Ward 1, said increasing rates are not the best way to increase city revenue. He said he believes that more people are riding bikes, walking and taking the bus, rather than parking.

“I see a lot of empty meters,” Smyth said. “We might just need to learn to live with less revenue.”