Quadrupling the Overtime Ticket

By Beacon Staff

It’s a good thing Whitefish isn’t Tokyo, where parking fines range from 10,000 – 15,000 Japanese Yen. That means parking violators cough up $82 to $123 in U.S. Dollars per offense.

Whitefish, in recent years, has enjoyed a low $5 fine—one cheap enough that many folks rack up tickets rather than pay for parking. “We were seeing more and more people not paying attention to the two-hour parking limit,” says City Manager Gary Marks. “Five dollars doesn’t seem to be enough of a deterrent. Even some of City’s leased parking spots sit empty.”

By mid-July this year, nearly 350 overtime parking tickets had been doled out. The prior two years averaged 458 overtime parking tickets.

How does Whitefish stack up with other cities for overtime fines? Manhatten, New York slaps a $65 fine on overtime parkers while Chicago, Illinois fines $50. Aspen, Colorado violators see a $20 ticket. Other local towns—Missoula and Kalispell—charge $10 per violation.

On August 6, the City Council plans a second reading of the proposed increase in overtime parking fines. The increase would quadruple the fine for overtime parking downtown to $20. If the proposed fine increase passes, new ticket penalties will take effect 30 days later.

“We want to encourage people to honor the two-hour limit,” says Marks.