COLUMBIA, S.C. (WIS) - The Columbia City Council is meeting tonight to discuss parking tickets and new ways that people might be able to pay for them. The proposal, called Donations for Citations, would allow people to pay for parking tickets by donating school supplies.
The Director of Parking Services, Elle Matney, said that if the proposal passes tonight, any parking tickets that residents receive between the dates of August 7th through the 21st can be paid by buying school supplies for an amount equal to or greater than the ticket.
“It’s a super opportunity to be involved with the community,” Matney said. “Often parking services and parking citations can have a negative undertone, and this gives us a positive, impactful way to incorporate ourselves into the school and the community.”
All residents will be able to drop off the supplies, along with a receipt, at the Columbia Parking Services office instead of paying the fine.
Matney said that this initiative wouldn’t apply to traffic or speeding tickets, but it will apply to parking citations and meter violations. Matney said that donations would be collected until September 1st.
Councilman Howard Duvall said this creates a positive incentive for people to pay their parking tickets and is good for the education system in Columbia.
“We have a huge majority of the people in our school system that need the school supplies,” Duvall said. “They can’t afford them with the fees and the taxes that apply to them. It makes it so that mommas and daddies can’t afford to buy the basic pencils and paper and crayons and all the other things, so this is one way the city of Columbia two times a year can help out the schools and help the school children get the supplies they need.”
The proposal states that this would only happen twice a year. Duvall says that allowing for a donation instead of payment twice a year allows the City of Columbia to support the school system while still creating enough revenue for parking services in Columbia.
“Tickets actually pays for the parking facilities in the City of Columbia,” Duvall said. “We can’t give up our revenue source too many times a year. We need to have that continuing chain of revenue to pay for the parking garages and to pay for the people to maintain the parking meters and parking spaces.”
Columbia Parking Services said they anticipate to have around $25,000 worth of school supplies donated from the first wave of this initiative.