St. Marys City Council unanimously approved two ordinances regarding downtown parking and speed limit changes during their worksession held Monday evening.
Under Ordinance No. 266, speed limits will be reduced from the existing 35 miles per hour to 25 miles per hour from Railroad Street downtown and up S. St. Marys Street to Vine Road.
Also part of the ordinance is a speed limit decrease from 40 miles per hour to 35 miles per hour from Vine Road to the entrance of St. Marys Area High School. From the high school to Fox Township, the speed limit increases to 40 miles per hour.
Under Ordinance No. 267, various changes were made to the city's code pertaining to times and locations of permitted parking, special-purpose parking, metered and unmetered parking lots, fine and penalties.
The fine for metered parking ticket violations will increase from $2 to $5, while $5 tickets received when parking on any street or public parking lot between 2-6 a.m. will now cost $10. Additionally, any $15 violation is being raised to $20.
Included in the ordinance is that all city parking lots will be closed from 2-6 a.m. daily. This is also valid on any city street as well, with violators facing a $10 fine. The only 24-hour lot will be the parking garage.
"I still think the fines went up a little high," said St. Marys Mayor Sally Geyer.
Councilman Bob Roberts, along with fellow Councilman Steve Skok, comprised the parking committee which offered the recommendations to council.
"You're entitled to your opinion," Roberts said in reply to Geyer. "Isn't it a lot better to have the consumer pay for it than the taxpayer?"
Councilman Rick Gabler stated these fines stem from people who do not initially pay the meter.
"It has been 35 years since the $2 ticket has been in effect," Roberts said.
Skok noted the increased fines will offset the cost of city personnel reinforcing parking.
Skok added that parking at the Boulevard and in the N. St. Marys Street lot will remain metered.