City council to consider tougher parking ordinance

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By Patrick Yost editor

The Madison City Council Friday heard and agreed to a proposal by Madison City Manager David Nunn to revisit and revise parking violation fees. At a work session, Nunn asked the council to begin to consider the effectiveness of the current ordinance and fine schedule. “I would like to start the conversation and see if the council would update our downtown parking schedule and put a little teeth in it…” Currently, he said, vehicles parked overtime in timed spaces pay a $2 fine. Employees or business owners who park in street spaces downtown pay a $10 fine. Nunn requested that the council either raise the fine schedule or, after several tickets, demand that the offender come before the Madison municipal judge to address the parking violation. “It needs to sting a little bit,” he said. Nunn said employees or business owners using street side parking in front of businesses hurts the local economy by restricting access to downtown businesses. “It’s just not fair. We pay a lot of money renting lots for all day, no charge parking.”

City Planner Monica Callahan said a recent study stated that a parking space generated more than $30,000 per year for the local economy. Callahan agreed with revising the parking fine schedules. “You aren’t trying to punish anybody. You are trying to reserve parking spaces for visitors.” Nunn said a new rate should equate to the value of the space. “If people want to use it as a pay–as–you–go schedule we ought to get out of it what it’s worth.” In other council business, the council: • Agreed to approve at its next meeting a contract with Athens–based Garrett Paving to provide paving at the Madison Airport.

According to Nunn, the $45,679 contract will complete paving of cracks and sealing damaged areas at the airport. * Agreed approve a state mutual aid agreement with the Morgan County Emergency Services Authority. Nunn said the agreement basically was an affirmation that the city would aid county emergency workers during a catastrophe.

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