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City looks to increase parking fines

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The Ogdensburg City Council is hoping to deter people from parking in fire lanes by increasing the city’s parking fines.

In January, the problem escalated when city fire department crews were unable to access Ogdensburg Free Academy with their equipment while responding to a smoke alarm in the auditorium.

Fire Chief Michael J. Farrell said he has been pleased that the city school district has cracked down on those who park in the fire lane in front of the school since then.

“They have even gone as far as put up barricades at athletic events, and I have been at sporting events and personally heard them use the PA system to notify parents to move their cars,” Mr. Farrell said.

But City Manager John M. Pinkerton said at Monday’s City Council meeting that there is a concern that some residents are parking in the fire lanes despite any fines they could incur.

“I think we ought to take a look at it,” Mr. Pinkerton said. “If that’s the response we are getting from some people and we had a tragedy happen that would be terrible.”

Mr. Farrell said he agrees with increase the fines.

“If raising the fee on these parking tickets deters motorists from parking in fire lanes, handicapped and no-parking zones, that it would be a great idea,” Mr. Farrell said. “Any illegal parked car that impedes our trucks from getting to the scene could have us lose valuable time.”

The city currently charges a $10 fine for most parking violations. The fee for parking in a fire lane or blocking a hydrant is $20. The fee for parking in a handicapped zone is $20 and carries a $25 state surcharge.

“It should be meatier,” Mayor William D. Nelson said. “It’s a matter of safety more than anything else.”

The City Council agreed that they would allow the police to bring back recommendations increase amounts.

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