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Posted on Mon, Nov 9, 2009 : 1:20 p.m.

Increasing parking fines, using social media topics of Ann Arbor City Council session tonight

By Ryan J. Stanton

Ann Arbor City Council members will meet in special session tonight to talk about two topics - social media and parking fines.

City Treasurer Matt Horning is expected to give a presentation on increasing city parking fines in an effort to raise an extra $875,287 a year.


A motorist parks at a metered spot along South University. City officials are proposing increasing parking fines to raise revenues to help the city's struggling budget.

Ryan J. Stanton |

His presentation, available for download, includes proposals to increase the fine for an expired meter from $15 to $20. The fine for parking over the legal limit elsewhere is proposed to jump from $25 to $35.

The second item on tonight's agenda is a presentation on boosting the city's message through social media components like Twitter and Facebook, which some city departments - such as parks - already are using to their advantage.

Tonight's meeting starts at 7 p.m. at city hall, 100 N. Fifth Ave. It will air live on CTN Channel 16 and replay at 10 a.m. Tuesday and 7:30 p.m. Friday.

Ryan J. Stanton covers government for Reach him at or 734-623-2529.



Wed, Nov 11, 2009 : 10:57 a.m.

Ann Arbors downtown is the best in the state and Main St. was recently named to the top ten in the Nation. If any downtown in this depressed state is going to continue to attract people, A2 is the one. This is like people who get caught speeding through a neighborhood complaining about a speed trap when they get caught. Don't want a ticket? Don't speed! Same goes for parking, don't want a ticket, pay the meter or park in a structure. What is so hard about that?

John Galt

Tue, Nov 10, 2009 : 2:02 p.m.

Businesses outside the downtown area have an immediate advantage. You save $1-2 (depending on time) before you even buy anything. Look for more empty store fronts downtown. Some level of activity will remain, as there is a "captive" population of University students and workers. Those with a choice will find better parking options and no meters outside the downtown area.

Val Losse

Mon, Nov 9, 2009 : 9 p.m.

Everyone in the city government is a Democrat. All they seem to know is to spend and spend more. Do they have any responsibility to spend within the budget or do they build a budget and then look for ways to raise more money? It is amazing that people do continue to come to downtown but I bet there is a limit.

John Hritz

Mon, Nov 9, 2009 : 8:53 p.m.

Ann Arbor Chronicle notes that the not so easy to pay E-Zpay machine at Kerrytown is on the fritz. Parking enforcement was not and ticketed the cars. More work for the parking referee.


Mon, Nov 9, 2009 : 6:37 p.m.

I agree with John G. about the repayment schedule but Grand Rapids looks like a very good comparison on the expired meter tickets. They are the only other city in the state that is doing relatively well economically. Most of the tickets are paid by students and out of town visitors. Seems like most townies know the ropes. I always park in a structure, no problem with running over ever. Glad they are building another one. Looks like the city staff is doing whatever they can to avoid the heavy layoffs a lot of cities and counties are going to have to do after the revenue sharing cuts start to hit at the first of the year. On top of that, A2 lost five per cent of their revenue when the Pfizer property went to the UM so they have a lot of $$ to make up.

John Hritz

Mon, Nov 9, 2009 : 6:08 p.m.

@David Cahill, the a2politico blog is on the right track, but population doesn't tell the whole story. To develop a set of comparables, they should be related to # of available parking spaces, density, cost-of-living, etc. to determine a fair price. Not to open another can of worms, but the price/time curve they're proposing for fine repayment looks like it was developed by a payday loan company.

David Cahill

Mon, Nov 9, 2009 : 4:33 p.m.

A new article on A2Politico ( seems to show that the city staff is using the wrong "comparables" to justify raising parking fines.


Mon, Nov 9, 2009 : 4:05 p.m.

I am so tired of Ann Arbor government. Fees, fines and taxes - anything to support a bloated city government. Please attempt to live within your means like the rest of us are doing these days.

John Hritz

Mon, Nov 9, 2009 : 3:46 p.m.

Looking at the presentation, the benchmarking results don't provide any statistical basis for the prices. The only remotely comparable city in the list is Madison. One could interpret this as a suggestion that you should go to one of these other cities...


Mon, Nov 9, 2009 : 3:20 p.m.

Of course. I must go downtown to work sporadically. However, I try to avoid downtown for everything else. The reason I do so is because of the socialistic mentality in Ann Arbor ("Red Square"), which causes things like increasing revenue rather than decreasing expenditures (power). Keep it up, soon you'll actually have to increase the taxes and fees of the city and county workers because no one else will be around to support the power mongers.


Mon, Nov 9, 2009 : 2:56 p.m.

Smart thinking on the parking fine increases. This should really improve the declining downtown. Perhaps the council would be better of finding ways to live within their means like everyone else is struggling to do. They seem to have way too many extravagant ventures going on. I wish I had $15 or $20 for every coin I have put in meters and not been given credit for. Seems like a great way to collect money and not have to account for it.

John Galt

Mon, Nov 9, 2009 : 1:57 p.m.

One reason I don't shop as much downtown is the parking situation. The fees and fines are one aspect. Another is the time wasted finding a place you can park. This simply will drive more business to the suburbs and reduce the number of people traveling to city center. They dont charge you to park there.