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By Christa Jennings
Senior Staff Writer
During its meeting last Tuesday evening, with all members present, the Rockford Town Council unanimously approved and adopted a new ordinance relating to parking control in town.
As reported previously, during last month’s meeting the council was provided a copy of the proposed ordinance for review and consideration, with the ordinance to be voted on this month.
Following its approval and adoption at last Tuesday’s meeting, July 18, Mayor Scott White signed the ordinance that night. It was stated that it would go into affect five days after he signed it, which meant it went into affect this week.
The town’s new ordinance replaces two previously amended ordinances from 2002 and 2016. The new ordinance does not add any new parking restrictions, but rather just adjusts and increases fines for the same offenses that were already in place.
The 2002 parking ordinance had fines of $5, $15 and $25 for various offenses. The 2016 amendment to the ordinance increased the fine for unlawfully parking in a handicap space to $100, and it increased the fines for four other offenses to $25.
The newest ordinance adopted last week, Ordinance PO 2023-06-PA-01, further increases fines with the same 11 parking offenses still in effect as from the previous ordinance.
With the ordinance now in affect this week, the fines for various offenses are $25, $50 and $100.
Unlawfully parking in a handicap space and parking in such a manner as to “block the fire vehicles and ambulance from leaving the fire station” each now have a $100 fine for those offenses.
Fines of $50 will be applied for the following offenses: Parking on a yellow curb, parking within 15 feet of a fire hydrant, parking on a sidewalk, parking in an intersection or crosswalk, parking of delivery vehicles on U.S. Highway 231 that blocks the view of oncoming traffic, and parking in such a manner “as to restrict the flow of traffic on any street in the town limits of Rockford.”
Additionally, there is a $50 fine for parking on the wrong side of the road. The ordinance details that offense as, “No vehicle shall be parked with the driver’s side next to a curb. Vehicles must park with the direction of traffic flow.”
The remaining two offenses listed in the ordinance each have a $25 fine. Those are for parking in a No Parking Zone and unlawfully parking “in a designated 15-minute parking space in the town limits between the hours of 8 a.m. and 4 p.m.”
The ordinance further states, “Any vehicle parked in any of the above listed offenses is subject to removal by towing at the owner’s expense.”
The ordinance also reads that any person violating any provisions of the ordinance “shall be fined the amount stated above for each offense.”
Regarding when an individual is fined, the ordinance details that fines shall be paid to the town clerk of Rockford “or their agent” within 10 working days, Monday through Friday, after the issuance of the “Municipal Ordinance Violation.” No warrant will be issued for failure to pay prior to the tenth working day after the ticket has been issued.
However, the ordinance reads, “If the citation is not paid after such time (10 working days), a warrant will be issued through the District Court of Coosa County. The fine shall then double in the amount of the original fine, and in addition court cost fees will be added.”
White mentioned that the town would give warnings for the first week or two, but then the Rockford Police Department would begin writing citations and enforcing the new increased fines.
For coverage of the remainder of the Rockford Town Council meeting, see next week’s edition.