City administration pushing for higher parking fines

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – A proposal backed by city administration would significantly increase parking fines in Albuquerque.

The ordinance, introduced by city councilor Isaac Benton at the behest of the mayor’s office, is a significant update of the city’s parking laws with stiffer fines included.

2014 Albuquerque Parking Citations Heat Map
Albuquerque Parking Citations Heat Map

Melissa Lozoya, acting director of the Department of Municipal Development, says the city compared its current parking penalties to other cities and found that Albuquerque’s were significantly lower.

Currently most fines on the books are $10 or $20. For example, an expired meter fine is $10 under city code. The proposed changes would make that $20. Parking next to a red or yellow curb or in a bus lane has a $20 fine associated with it. That would increase to $30 under the proposal.

The largest increase would be for defacing a parking meter or trying to put counterfeit change in one. That’s currently a $20 citation and would grow to $100 under the new ordinance.

The Department of Municipal Development says there were 38,782 citations issued in 2015. In FY 2015, $698,471 in revenue was generated from those citations.

There’s some conflicting information on the effect the changes would have on that revenue number.

“We actually don’t anticipate that we’re going to collect more revenue,” said Lozoya.

Lozoya cites the increased ease of paying for parking offered under the ordinance, increased desire for people to avoid heftier fines and more relaxed payment deadlines for people hit with a citation as reasons for that.

However, a cover analysis of the ordinance says that “revenue will likely increase.”

The proposal is scheduled to get its first hearing in front of a city council committee on Thursday.

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