The city is considering increases in parking fines in downtown Canton as a way to benefit the city's Downtown Development Authority.
Mayor Gene Hobgood brought the issue forward during Thursday's city council meeting. He proposed increasing fees with the amount of the increase going toward the downtown development authority. He said the authority had asked before to receive the revenues from downtown parking fees.
"That wouldn't hurt us. It would only help them," Hobgood said "They need some help."
Wanda Roach, chairwoman of the downtown development authority, said the extra income would make the authority feel better about its situation.
"We have been on a very tight budget," she said, adding that the authority relies only on ticket sales from the Canton Theatre for its operating revenue. "It would give us a cushion and make us feel more comfortable knowing that extra revenue is coming."
She said the revenues could help the authority, which oversees the theater, build up reserves that would help with maintenance as well as improvements to the sound and lighting system.
The fine for overtime parking downtown is $5 for the first offense, $10 for a second offense and $25 for a third offense.
There is a $20 fine for parking on the sidewalk, in the crosswalk or in the wrong direction. Parking in a fire lane fetches $25 in fines and unpaid tickets $75. Jeff Lance, chief of the Canton Police Department, said the fines are low compared to other cities based on a survey he performed approximately two years ago.
The council will discuss specifics of the plan to increase fines at a work session next month.
The council also approved 4-2, with Councilmembers Bob Rush and Pat Tanner opposed, a measure to advertise all new ordinances and amendments being considered by the body.
Councilman Bill Bryan said the council should take any opportunity "to go beyond what is required to notify the public."