Discovering a parking fine wedged under your windscreen wiper is a typical torment of Byron life, and one that won’t be disappearing any time soon.
But what if the sting was made a bit less painful by reducing garden variety fines by $30?
The power to produce this minor Christmas miracle will rest in the hands of Byron councillors next week when they debate whether or not to opt in to new State Government regulations.
Under the new rules, fines for most common infringements such as parking longer than permitted and stopping in a restricted area have been reduced from $110 to $80.
But until now councils, who issue the vast majority of fines, have not had the power to follow suit.
However, this week NSW Treasurer Dominic Perrottet invited them to do just that.
‘While councils have previously been unable to reduce parking fines, there is now the opportunity to do the right thing by constituents and opt in to the new regulations,’ Mr Perrottet said in a letter that went to councils across the state.
A decision about whether to adhere to Mr Perrottet’s request will be debated at the next week’s full council meeting on December 13.
If councillors vote to go ahead they will be trimming their own revenue.
According to calculations by council staff a $32 reduction in fine amounts would see Council’s general revenue reduced by approximately $158,200 a year.
Despite this, Mayor Simon Richardson said he would be supporting the reduction and expected other councillors to do the same.
‘I think that if we can take a bit of financial pressure off residents then we should do that,’ Cr Richardson said.
‘I can’t imagine they [the other councillors] won’t want to support that.
‘It is interesting, though, that the state government is very generous with giving up revenue that largely goes to local councils rather than their own coffers.’
Cr Richardson said he would also support the introduction of a 10-minute ‘grace period’, which is included in the government’s new rules.
Under this measure, a vehicle owner who overstays the parking limit by 10 minutes or less will not be fined.
This rule will only apply to parking areas with a limit of one hour or more.
If councillors vote to introduce the new regulations, they will come into effect on March 1, 2019.