Parking citations on an incline

CITY HALL — A parking ticket in Glendale will generally set a driver back more than in Burbank or Pasadena, and now, they're set to get even more expensive.

The City Council this week approved a $3 increase to parking citations in response to an equal amount imposed recently by state legislators on cities to help fund court operations.

Of 31 potential parking tickets levied within the city's borders, Glendale fines are higher than Burbank fines in 23 cases and higher than Pasadena fines in 28 cases, according to a city survey of 11 cities in Los Angeles and Orange counties.

Meanwhile, Glendale fines are typically higher than average among all cities more than half of the time, according to the report, although they are generally lower than cities such as Los Angeles and Santa Monica.

All fines collected support the city's parking fund, which pays for parking enforcement, maintenance of downtown Glendale and Montrose parking meters and operation of city owned parking lots and structures.

The fund also supports an annual transfer of $1.9 million to the General Fund, which pays for general public services like parks and police.

"There is a $3 increase from the state," said Mayor Ara Najarian. "And we are just passing that through."

Still, Councilman Frank Quintero said he would like to see some of the city's current fines lowered, citing the $41 ticket given for an expired parking meter, which will now be raised to $44.

"Lord, we are trying to encourage business, trying to have people come to Glendale, et cetera. I wish we could instead of $44, quite frankly, I wish we could reduce it," he said. "We have all gotten e-mails from someone who was shopping and overstayed the meter and all of a sudden they've got this horrible ticket to contend with."

While dining at Porto's Bakery on Brand Boulevard Wednesday morning, San Fernando Valley resident Ron Haig rushed to the parking meter to pay.

"I had forgotten about it," he said. "I was eating my sandwich and ran over."

He said the high fines serve as a major motivator to make sure people pay the meters, but knows that many people complain about receiving a ticket.

"I know a lot of people are concerned with speeding tickets and parking tickets going up in bad economic times," he said.

The current fines will be reevaluated during next year's budget process, Public Works Director Steve Zurn said.

With the city's parking fund experiencing a loss in the past two years, Zurn said officials would likely recommend increasing some of the fines, but that reductions could also be considered.

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