Trail council agreed to up the fine for an expired parking meter from $5 to $10, effective the first day of 2020.                                Trail Times photo

Trail council agreed to up the fine for an expired parking meter from $5 to $10, effective the first day of 2020. Trail Times photo

Trail adds bigger bite to parking penalties

Parking passes and parking violations set to increase on Jan. 1

Remember to plug your meter in downtown Trail next year, or it’ll cost you double.

At the Monday governance meeting, city council agreed to up the fine for an expired parking meter from $5 to $10, effective the first day of 2020.

This new $10 fine also applies to anyone who parks in a city parking lot without a valid decal. As well, parking where prohibited and overparking time limits – or buying more time by plugging the meter over and over – will cost another $5 and net the violator a $15 ticket as of Jan. 1.

Those who don’t pay their $10 penalty in the allotted time of five days, will be looking at a $20 fine, then a $30 fine if unpaid after nine days.

The $15 violation ticket will become $25 if unpaid after five days and $35 if unpaid after nine days.

“The city’s metered rates and enforcement efforts align with the primary purpose behind the city’s use of parking meters in the downtown, being to ensure a turnover in the stalls so that convenient parking is available for the customers and clients of the downtown merchants and service providers,” noted Corporate Administrator Michelle McIsaac.

“While the suggested change reflects a sizable increase, it is important to keep in mind that these fine amounts are entirely preventable through compliance,” she said.

“The city’s parking rates for both metered and monthly parking are modest and the violation amounts are low as compared to nearby communities.”

Of note, is that the $35 fee for parking in a handicapped zone will remain the same. However, if it goes unpaid after five days, the fee goes to $45, then $55 if the ticket is not paid after nine days.

Besides hiking parking fines, council also approved a 7.5 per cent increase for the rental of city-owned parking spaces. This increase will go into effect on Jan. 1.

Monthly parking passes currently sit at $33 for the city’s 180 surface stalls and $44 for 49 underground stalls. In the new year, these monthly fees will increase to $34.65 and $46.20 respectively.

This number doesn’t include a 10 per cent discount that applies if the purchaser rents five or more spaces, or pays for 12 months all in one go.

As far as metered parking rates, which were last adjusted to $0.50/hour in 2010, that amount will remain the same.

“A conscientious effort has been made to maintain the metered parking rates at a very reasonable level so as to not dissuade patrons of the downtown businesses and service providers from visiting the downtown,” McIsaac said.

“At this time, the opportunity to adjust the metered rates is not available to the city as the electronic mechanisms in approximately 50 per cent of the meters are aged, dating back to the early 2000’s, and cannot be updated.”

Municipal parking operations generate revenues of approximately $350,000 annually, including around $45,000 from violation tickets. Current parking penalties have been in place since 2001.

By upping fines and the cost for a parking pass, the city is estimating a $50,000 revenue increase next year.

“From a financial perspective, the imposition of parking fees and fines are important revenue sources for the city,” said David Perehudoff, chief administrative officer.

“While direct costs to provide parking services have increased, revenue levels have remained relatively constant, resulting in a lower net revenue offset that is effectively used to offset business property taxes … In addition, the parking service and the levying of various fees provides some level of order and control when it comes to dealing with the supply and demand for service,” he said.

“In the downtown core, this is seen to be important for the support of commerce and the varied types of businesses that operate in the downtown area.”