Section 10-26(a) of the Code of the City of Fort Worth, Texas (2015), as amended, (City Code) provides that any person, firm or corporation that violates any provision of the City Code related to the stopping, standing or parking of vehicles shall be fined in an amount not exceeding $200.00 for each offense. Further, section 10-26(b) of the City Code provides that the City Council may by resolution adopt a schedule of standard fines for parking offenses, which may be paid by a citation holder who does not wish to contest the citation. The last increase to parking fines was adopted January 26, 2010.
Staff reviewed the thirty-three parking codes for Fort Worth against their equivalents in five Texas municipalities of comparable size (population of greater than 650,000; see Table A). In ten instances, Fort Worth's fine amount was on average fifty-one percent below the average of the other five cities for those equivalent citation codes. Thus, staff recommends increasing the fine amount for ten parking violations as shown in the attached Table A. Staff further recommends leaving all other parking fine amounts in place because they are already equal to or exceed the average across the benchmarked municipalities.
Included within the ten increases, staff recommends increasing three offenses to the maximum amount allowed under the City Code ($200.00): Parking in a Fire Lane/Zone, Parked in a Disabled Space/Zone, and Oversized Commercial Vehicle on a Public Street. Staff anticipates the fine increases will lead to improved compliance for these three offenses. The other seven parking fine increases recommended by staff will bring Fort Worth's fine amount closer to the average fine amounts assessed across the benchmarked municipalities.
Staff is also recommending an increase to the late fee for parking fine amounts $120.00 or more. Two of the benchmarked municipalities do not charge late fees (Austin and El Paso). Across the other three benchmarked municipalities (Dallas, San Antonio, and Houston), there was a wide degree of variability for the late fee charged. For fines that are $119.99 or less, staff recommends the late fee remain at the current rate of $25.00 after twenty-one days. For fines that are $120.00 or more, staff recommends the late fee be increased to $50.00 after twenty-one days. Staff anticipates the higher late fee for the more serious offenses will increase compliance and collection efforts.
Staff requests the parking fine and fee schedule in the attached resolution be effective, January 1, 2019, which will give staff adequate time to order new parking citations and make necessary software updates.
This M&C does not request approval of a contract with a business entity.