Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

That's the Ticket: City to Ponder Adoption of `Quick-Pay' Program

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

That's the Ticket: City to Ponder Adoption of `Quick-Pay' Program

Article excerpt

Paul Guy, a banquet waiter at America's Center, says he finds those yellow city tickets on his windshield "all the time" when he parks on downtown streets.

So a proposal last week to cut in half the meter violation penalty for those paying quickly - say, within an hour - sounds pretty good to Guy.

"I'll dig the change out of my car seat for that," said Guy, 34, of St. Louis, as he entered the city courts building at 1430 Olive Street to pay the normal $7 penalty for a downtown ticket. Outside downtown, the basic penalty is $5. The half-price proposal was among the changes in city government recommended to Mayor Clarence Harmon by a committee assembled by FOCUS St. Louis, a civic group. While Harmon did not comment specifically on the parking idea, he said the city would consider all of the committee's recommendations. The committee said the idea, in place for years in suburbs such as Clayton and Richmond Heights, could cut administrative costs, reduce the "bloated parking ticket" court docket and create good public relations for the city. Irene Smith, the administrative judge of the St. Louis city courts, said that in May she already had asked the commission overseeing the city's 10,000 parking meters to consider such an idea. The commission chairman, City Treasurer Larry Williams, said the panel would do so - as it had done a few years back. St. Louis pulls in about $2.3 million a year in gross revenue from parking tickets. Clayton started its lower-price policy in 1986, said court clerk Jacquelyn Pierce. As it stands now, people hit with $3 meter tickets there have to fork over only a dollar - if they show up to pay at City Hall within 30 minutes. Pierce said that about 30 of the 200 people a day who get such tickets in Clayton take advantage of the offer. "It cuts down on notices" of delinquency that the city has to mail out, she said. …

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