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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

Parking fees lowered to compete with Arizona cities

Rebecca+Noble+%2F+The+Daily+Wildcat%0A%0ACars+parked+at+meters+on+Congress+Street+on+Sunday%2C+Sept.+28.+
Rebecca Noble / The Daily Wildca
Rebecca Noble / The Daily Wildcat Cars parked at meters on Congress Street on Sunday, Sept. 28.

Tucson City Council unanimously voted to reduce the price of parking tickets across the board in the city of Tucson on Oct. 21. The new changes are set to take effect early next year.

Currently, Tucson levies a fine for City Court processing fees and a state tax fee on each parking ticket, together totaling $36.60. With the elimination of this additional charge, City Council significantly reduced the prices of parking violations, which were previously among the highest in the state. These reductions put Tucson on par with other Arizona jurisdictions.

Drivers who receive parking tickets under the new system will be paying the fines directly to Park Tucson, the city’s parking enforcement agency, rather than paying City Court, as it is in the current system.

The driver will have 30 days to decide whether they will pay the ticket or contest it in court. If they do not pay within the first 30 days because they are contesting the ticket and are still found to be at fault, drivers will incur additional fines, including the $36.60 fee City Council eliminated in order to lower the fines.

Matt Kopec, the management analyst for Ward 3 City Council member Karin Uhlich, said the new system will streamline the process for the first 30 days by cutting out the need to pay at City Court.

According to a memorandum from City Council’s Oct. 21 meeting, while the city of Tucson estimates the revenue from parking fines will remain fairly consistent with that of previous years, Park Tucson, formerly ParkWise, will incur approximately $100,000 in additional administrative fees.

Donovan Durband, Park Tucson’s program administrator, said the reduction of fees would not lead to the distribution of more tickets.

“Those are two completely independent factors,” Durband said, “and even with the additional administrative costs, we have enough surplus in other areas that we are projecting that we will be able to absorb those costs.”

Durband said the money from the fines is split up and about half of it goes to the state of Arizona, while some goes into the general fund.

Durband added that the current makeup of a ticket consists of a base fine based on what kind of violation occurred plus a state tax, a city court fee with state taxes added on and a $13 charge for the equipment used by law enforcement.

Although these changes will greatly affect drivers all over the city of Tucson, especially those who frequent downtown, they will have no effect on students parking at the UA.

Mark Napier, associate director of operations at Parking and Transportation Services, confirms that since the tickets given at the UA do not come from Park Tucson or the Tucson Police Department, but rather the University of Arizona Police Department, the reduction will have no effect on tickets received at the university.

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