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updated: 5/28/2014 5:04 PM

Could parking fine hike help fill Mt. Prospect budget gap?

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Parking violators in Mount Prospect soon could be paying more for their infractions.

Village board members meeting as a committee of the whole Tuesday continued brainstorming over ways to raise revenues, including not only by hiking fines for general parking violations, but hikes fees for everything from false alarms to yard waste stickers and liquor license fees.

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The aim is to correct a structural deficit in the annual budget, in which expenditures are projected to grow 2 percent yearly, while revenue projections show only 1 percent growth.

Much of the discussion focused on parking fines, which have not changed in 33 years. Police are recommending that the basic fine move from $20 to $30.

"It's based on what other communities are doing and I think it's a fair representation of what other suburbs are seeking in those fines," Deputy Police Chief Tim Janowick said. "$30 right now is both mean and lean."

Fines of $50 would apply to violators who block fire lanes and fire hydrants, fail to wear seat belts or drive while distracted.

Assistant Village Manager David Strahl said the higher fine for fire lane and fire hydrant violations is warranted by the severity of the offense as well as the need for a deterrent. The recommended fines are still below the average rate of $70.38 in surrounding towns.

"We have an issue particularly in our shopping centers and most particularly in our apartment complexes and condo developments," Janowick said.

Trustee Richard Rogers said he would like to see even higher fines for distracted driving.

"I see so many people on their cellphones," he said. "I see people reading the newspaper while they are driving down the street or shaving or putting on their eye makeup."

Trustee Steven Polit said the fines should send a message that Mount Prospect takes these violations seriously.

"What is the point that our fines are so much less (than neighboring towns)?" he asked. "We should either be higher or we should be the average."

Proposed changes for non-parking items include changing the seven-tier system for fines associated with false alarms to a four-tier system. Under the plan, the first two false alarms would carry no fine, but the third through fifth would be $50 each, activations six through nine would be $100 and any activations beyond 10 would be $150. The maximum at present is $100.

Another proposed increase would see the yard waste sticker fee would rise from $2.25 to $2.50.

Trustees, who earlier this month discussed possible increases in building permit and ambulance fees, did not enact any fee hikes Tuesday.

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