It’s about to be more expensive to let parking tickets go unpaid. City councilors approved an additional fine that would allow the city to collect those fines through state tax returns.
Today, typical on-street parking citations are $20. If it isn’t paid on time, the city tacks on an additional $20. But, in order to collect the fines through state tax returns, fines and fees must be at least $50. “We can’t submit anything that is less than $50 in value,” said City Manager Russell Allen.
By adding an additional $10 for those who are more than six months overdue, it allows the city to take part in the program.
Residents who are owed a state tax refund will have their parking fines removed first before receiving their refund.
The increase is one of a few changes that were recommended by Allen that would either increase revenue or safe money altogether.
The city is also increasing the fees for mulch and compost that is created from collected yard waste. The current fee per truckload (2.5 yards) for compost and mulch is $20 and $15, respectively. “It’s the best bargain in town,” said Allen, adding that it sells for about a third of market value.
By bumping up the fees $10, Allen said that it would generate $100,000 while remaining far under market rate.
Even with the increase, the facility will continue to operate at a loss.
With only 4 percent of Raleigh’s 400,000 residents licensing their dogs or cats, Allen recommended doing away with the unenforced requirement. “We believe it costs us more to administer than it’s worth,” he said.
Residents are supposed to license their pets on an annual basis, paying either $7 for spayed or neutered pets and $14 for those that aren’t. The intent of the law was to help animal control officers identify pet owners in case they got loose. Allen said that new technology, like microchips, are more effective.
The city is also doing away with a fee charged to those who are involuntarily transported to a hospital or mental treatment facility by the Raleigh Police Department.
The $75 fee has been a part of council discussions since the late 1990s. Allen said that the fee is nearly impossible to collect and is costing more in staff time. The city will continue to offer this service at no charge.