Code enforcement officer Shane Jacobs places a parking ticket on a car in downtown Steamboat Springs. Steamboat Springs City Council will discuss adding a surcharge to tickets in Steamboat Springs, meaning people could be paying more for violations in the future.

Photo by John F. Russell

Code enforcement officer Shane Jacobs places a parking ticket on a car in downtown Steamboat Springs. Steamboat Springs City Council will discuss adding a surcharge to tickets in Steamboat Springs, meaning people could be paying more for violations in the future.

City Council considers municipal ticket surcharge

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If you go

What: Steamboat Springs City Council meeting

When: 5 p.m. today

Where: Centennial Hall, 124 10th St.

Call: City offices at 879-2060 for more information; call 871-7070 to listen live to meetings of the Steamboat Springs City Council

Agenda

5 p.m. Second reading of an ordinance repealing the licensing requirements for towing carriers; second reading of an ordinance instituting a $5 surcharge on parking violations and $20 surcharge on all other municipal violations; second reading of an ordinance prohibiting demolitions in some zone districts at the base of Steamboat Ski Area without an approved plan for redevelopment

7 p.m. Public comment; City Council and staff reports

— Breaking the law will cost more money in Steamboat Springs if City Council approves a surcharge on municipal violations.

Council will consider the second and final reading of an ordinance instituting a $5 surcharge on parking violations and a $20 surcharge on all other violations at its meeting today. Police officials say the charges are fair and appropriate to help offset the cost of law enforcement, but the city's municipal court staff has raised concerns about the proposal.

At the ordinance's first reading, some council members were hesitant to approve the ordinance while residents already are struggling in the midst of a recession. The ordinance passed that reading, 5-1, however, after council members scaled back the initial proposal for a $25 surcharge. Councilman Scott Myller dissented. Public Safety Director J.D. Hays said the Police Department would try to educate the public about the new charges with advertising and a grace period.

Based on the number of tickets issued in 2008, Hays estimates the new surcharges would raise $42,540 a year.

"A portion of it would go toward dog parks and a portion of it would go toward law enforcement, primarily for training and equipment," City Manager Jon Roberts said.

Only surcharges on animal violations would go toward the development of city dog parks.

"This is not simply about generating revenue on the backs of the citizens, but about helping to defray the costs associated with enforcement," Hays wrote in a staff report. "It seems appropriate to have those who create the workload via violations to help shoulder the burden through surcharges."

Municipal Court Administrator Judy Plumb, however, raises several concerns about the proposal. In a memo to Roberts and Hays, Plumb wrote that instituting surcharges would create additional administrative burdens at a time when staff hours have been cut by 10 percent as part of citywide budget cuts. Plumb wrote that trial and payment plan requests have increased with the economic downturn and that surcharges would further increase these requests.

"An additional impact, and perhaps the most important, will be in the amount of hostility and frustration this office, the parking officers : patrol officers, and perhaps City Council will encounter with these increases," Plumb wrote.

Also today, council will consider the second and final reading of an ordinance that would prohibit the demolition of structures in certain zone districts at the base of Steamboat Ski Area without an approved plan for redevelopment.

The ordinance was spurred by the demolition of Ski Time Square and Thunderhead Lodge and subsequent claims by developers with The Atira Group that they may need as many as five years to break ground on redevelopment projects.

"It's a combination of the loss of economic activity as well as there's been issues raised about the visual impact of demolition," said Roberts, who said the same regulations are in place downtown. "What this is doing is expanding the downtown ordinance to cover the base of the mountain."

- To reach Brandon Gee, call 367-7507 or e-mail bgee@steamboatpilot.com

Comments

2007 5 years, 3 months ago

What is the current fine for parking violations and what percentage of an increase does this represent?
Economic conditions for downtown retailers are not great now, so what is the wisdom in encouraging shoppers and diners to shorten their visits and hurry back to their cars to avoid a ticket?

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carlyle 5 years, 3 months ago

Parking is going to be a big problem if a two hour maximum is enforced. Worse, there are a few places - the library and the depot to name two - where the current two hour maximum is not enforced. After getting a warning for parking on Yampa while staffing a booth for one of the summer festivals, I was told to park at the Community Center. "... and take the bus!"

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