OGDEN — Ogden City officials say their parking ticket program isn’t sustainable, so they’re proposing an increase to the cost of infractions.
The city’s office of Fiscal Operations recently analyzed parking ticket fees handed out over the past six years, concluding that what is currently charged isn’t enough to pay for the program much longer.
City Senior Accountant Gabe Johns said that when compared to similar-sized cities, Ogden’s fees are too low. For example, both Provo’s and Park City’s minimum fees are more than $100 over what Ogden currently charges.
The main reason Ogden collects lower fees, Johns said, is the city’s “tiered fee reduction system.” Under the system, if parking tickets are paid within 10 days, then the fee is reduced by $90. If tickets are paid within 10 to 20 days, fees are reduced by $60. If tickets are paid within 20 to 30 days, then the fees are reduced by $30. After 30 days there is no discount. Right now, if a person gets a parking ticket for exceeding the allotted time in a particular spot, and pays within 10 days, the fee is just $10. If they pay after 30 days, the amount climbs to $100.
Johns said the incentive to pay early has made it so about 60% of all parking citations are paid within 10 days, significantly decreasing the amount of money in the program. As a result, the city administration is proposing to increase minimum fees. The fees vary based on the type of parking infraction a person is cited for, but for overtime infractions, minimum fees would more than double from the current rate of $10, up to $25. The cost would max out at $105 after 30 days or more of non-payment. Minimum tickets for most other infractions (all except parking in disabled spaces) would be $35 and max out at $115. Illegally parking in a disabled spot would increase from $110 to $120, with the same maximum fine of $200.
“We are trying to ensure that the program covers itself, as far as revenues collected are concerned, compared to the costs we incur,” Johns said.
Under the proposal, deadlines to pay would be increased by several days, so the first payment deadline would be upped to 15 days instead of 10. Johns said the proposal won’t change the types of parking infractions Ogden currently cites for and isn’t meant to address the larger issue of parking in the city as a whole. Under the new program, citations would also have more specific information about infractions and when they are owed and how prices change at specific deadlines.
Ogden Chief Administrative Officer Mark Johnson said the city sees the majority of parking infractions happen around Weber State University and throughout Ogden’s Central Business District, which stretches from 20th to 27th streets between Wall and Adams avenues.
Johnson said the city plans to, in the relatively near future, move to a system of parking meters in the downtown area.