Latrobe sticks with $10 parking fine
By Joe Napsha
Published: Tuesday, Oct. 9, 2012, 12:01 a.m.
The $10 parking ticket remains alive in Latrobe, despite two attempts on Monday by city council members intent on lowering the fine to either $3 or $5, but opponents promised the effort to lower the fine will be revived.
Both attempts to reduce the $10 parking ticket to $3 or $5 for at least the first full business day died on 3-3 votes, with the three members supporting the $3 ticket, opposing the $5 ticket. Council member Rosie Wolford, who could have cast a deciding vote, was absent from the meeting.
Councilman Richard Jim once again argued that the fines are too high and promised to introduce his proposal again.
“I've never heard so much opposition to what I've done,” Jim said, noting that he has heard complaints from physicians, merchants, bankers and residents.
Jim said council would be better off lowering the fine and then catching the scofflaws. He suggested that the city could give the lower fine a six-month trial period and then revert to the higher fines if that does not work out well.
Jim suggested that city officials be given the chance to forgive tickets in some instances, Councilman Robert Forish said that could lead to charges of ticket fixing. A Latrobe parking study conducted by Timothy Haas in February found that ticket fixing was a problem.
Councilman Kenneth Baldonieri, who voted against Jim's proposal, lost his bid to set the fines at $5 for the first day; $10 after the first full business day; and then $30 after 72 hours.
Baldonieri argued that the $3 fine was not sufficient to get motorists to put money in the parking meters.
“There has to be an incentive to pay the meter.”
Martin Molina, parking authority board chairman, said the higher fine structure was proposed in Haas'parking study. Molina said the authority board would reconsider the new fines when it meets in November.
But city Manager Alex Graziani, who did not attend Monday's meeting, said last week the city will continue to issue $3 parking tickets because it still has those i stock.
Council approved raising the parking meter fines in September, but failed to set a date for implementing the new fine system. At that time, motorists were not charged to park at the city's newly renovated downtown parking garage on Spring Street.
In another controversial matter, council once again voted to advertise for bids on a five-year contract to collect residential and commercial garbage, the recycling materials and operate the city's transfer station on Mission Road and handle its rolloff garbage boxes.
The motion did not specify the deadline for submitting the bids or when the city wants the new hauler to begin operations. The city's refuse is being collected by Allied Waste Services of Scottdale under a three-month extension that expires Dec. 31.
Council last month rejected an attempt to advertise for bids for the five-year refuse hauling contract when it did not include the requirement that the refuse hauler operate the city's transfer station.
David Smith, general manager for Allied Waste Services, asked council to consider extending the company's current agreement for all of 2013, at no price hike. That would give any bidders more time to evaluate operating the transfer station in addition to collecting the refuse and recyclables, Smith said.
When it was suggested that haulers may have more time to evaluate the operations if Allied Waste Services agrees to extend its contract for the first three months of 2013, Smith said he was not certain the company would agree to that.
Council had rejected refuse hauling bids earlier this year when there was confusion over the bidding process. Allied Waste Services was the apparent low bidder at $3.5 million, if the city decided to have the hauler handle the bookkeeping and sell garbage bag stickers,
Joe Napsha is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-836-5252 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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