COLUMBIA — An ordinance drafted Thursday at Mayor Bob McDavid's request could result in a significant increase in minimum parking violation fines.
If approved by the Columbia City Council, the proposal would increase the meter violation fine from $5 to $10, as well as increase the penalty for nonpayment of fines within 15 days from $15 to $25.
The city manager's office projects that the ordinance could provide an increase of $100,000 in revenue for the city.
According to Shara Meyer, municipal court clerk, the changes come as an effort to halt the all-day occupancy of metered spots downtown by employees of shops in the district.
She also said that the projected changes weren’t a sudden issue, despite the fact that Columbia parking fines have not changed in eight years. The proposed figures come as the result of a comparative study of fines in other municipalities in Missouri, she said.
The findings show that Columbia is one of the cheapest places to get a ticket for various infractions, such as obstruction of traffic and handicap parking.
These proposed changes are not supported by some people, however.
MU student Joanna Demkiewicz, who works in a downtown shop, said she has received tickets as soon as five minutes after parking her car. She said it is difficult finding hassle-free parking downtown.
Natalie Duider, another downtown employee shares in the frustration. Duider said that other means of parking should be made available.
"I feel like employees who work downtown should be able to buy a space or pass. The $12 a week adds up. It's almost $50 a month I spend on parking alone," she said. "Not counting the tickets.”
Downtown Columbia has 1,413 on-street metered spaces, according to The District's website. If approved, the proposal will take effect March 1.