In the past year, the city of Madison has increased the cost of parking tickets, doubling the fine for an expired meter to $20 and tripling the fine for alternate-side parking during street sweeping to $30.
The fee increase has raised $800,000 in additional revenue for the city, but some criticize the move as a hidden way to raise taxes.
This week Isthmus asked the mayoral candidates about these fees.
Is the city charging too much for parking tickets?
I don't support the increase in parking fines. But the fines aren't the main issue. The real issue is the lack of available parking, especially downtown.
The failure of the current mayor to produce a mid-State Street parking ramp is an unacceptable strategic planning failure. A lack of adequate parking only adds to traffic congestion, as people drive around looking for a parking spot. We need a mid-State Street parking ramp to keep downtown Madison a destination point.
I also think it's flat-out wrong to increase the fines at expired meters, while reducing the fines on people who park in disabled spaces without a permit. The current administration has reduced the fine for this offense from $100 to $50. The fine in other municipalities, such as Middleton and Monona, is $100 for this offense, and in Fitchburg it's $120.
I understand that the increase in fines has been a revenue boost for the city, but I don't think it's right to build a budget around the hopes that people will get parking tickets. We wouldn't need a revenue boost if city hall was fiscally responsible and didn't spend taxpayer dollars on misplaced priorities, such as a $300,000 trolley study.
No. The expired meter charge is now the same as the UW's and we actually lowered some charges to be consistent with state law. These changes were initiated at the request of the Police Department.