Parking fines could be less in Latrobe
After months of wrangling over whether a $10 parking ticket was too high, a majority of Latrobe Council members Monday decided to lower the fine to $5 for the first day of a violation, and $10 if it is not paid after the first business day.
Council members Ken Baldonieri, Rosie Wolford, Robert Forish and Mayor Barbara Griffin and voted to lower the fines, while council members Richard Jim and Fabian Giovannagelo opposed the $5 parking ticket.
Baldonieri had recommended lowering the fine to $5, rather than returning it to the previous $3 rate that Jim proposed, because he felt the $3 fine would not be an incentive to get motorists to pay the parking meters.
Jim argued that the city must increase its parking meter enforcement, rather than raise the fines.
“The biggest issue that we have to take into consideration is compliance. If we keep the fines at $3, it is the compliance we have – which is zilch,” Baldonieri said.
Because the new rate is the change to a previous amendment, solicitor James Kelly said council will have to vote on the same parking rates next month before it becomes effective.
Although the city council in September approved raising the fines for parking meter violations to $10 for the first day and increased the cost of parking at metered spaces, the higher fines and new parking meter rates have not taken effect because Latrobe still has the $3 parking tickets and has not recalibrated the meters, said city manager Alexander Graziani.
In other matters, council decided after a 40-minute debate to advertise for bids for just one year for a garbage hauler to collect both residential and commercial refuse, plus recyclable materials.
The mayor, Forish, Giovannagelo and Jim voted for advertising for a one-year contract, while Wolford and Baldonieri voted against it.
Both Wolford and Baldonieri said they favored advertising for bids for a five-year contract, because they believed that city residents would get lower rates from a refuse collection company with a long-term contract.
Council decided to separate the garbage collection contract from the dicision whether to privatize the operations of its transfer station on Mission Road.
Wolford said the city should spend at least the next year, if not longer, studying the transfer station operations and whether the city can increase the revenue generated from that operation.
Graziani said he opposed linking the privatization of the transfer station to the refuse collection contract because he was not certain how much of a transfer fee that the city should collect from any company that would operate it. Graziani said that the franchise fee could be at least $800,000, if not more.
“If it makes sense to bid it, then bid it. If not, make a plan for growth,” Graziani said.
Joe Napsha is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-836-5252 or email@example.com.