Greenwood to phase out drop boxes for paying parking tickets
By: ADAM BENSON
They’ve been a part of Uptown Greenwood’s identity for at 25 years, but by Jan. 1, they’ll likely disappear.
On Monday, City Manager Charlie Barrineau said he wants to replace five drop boxes used to collect parking fines with a centralized payment system requiring people to go online or directly to City Hall.
Right now, an employee swings by the boxes twice a week — taking up about 30 minutes. Although it’s not time consuming, Barrineau said officials can use the time more efficiently by pulling down the receptacles.
The move would also be more in line with a growing trend of internet-based payments for the $5 violation, Barrineau said.
“These need to go, and we need to move on and take those 30 minutes a week and put them to better use somewhere else,” Barrineau said. “These probably have been up since we started collecting parking tickets.”
Between Oct. 1, 2016 and Sept. 30, 2,807 parking tickets have been paid, with 18 percent of them — or 505 — being paid through the drop boxes.
Barrineau said online payments for parking tickets have jumped 67 percent since 2014-15. City leaders originally wanted to get rid of the drop boxes by Nov. 1, but the council wanted to give patrons more time to adjust, preferring a Jan. 1 start date.
Also Monday, Barrineau asked the City Council whether there was interest in creating an exemption for artisans and hobbyists who create artwork as a supplemental means of income.
“We get these discussions with people a lot, where people want to believe they’re not actually in business because they don’t operate a storefront. We want to be careful that we don’t exempt a bunch of other people that we don’t intend to,” Finance Director Steffanie Dorn said.
The exemption would be modeled after one already in place for farmers that sell their produce at Uptown Greenwood’s market — a move Mayor Welborn Adams supports.
“To me, it is similar to the farmers market where these people are making these things themselves. That’s a big difference to me between somebody buying something and reselling it,” he said.
City Council member Kenn Wiltshire said he believed there was no reason to create additional regulations.
“I don’t want to suffocate people’s entrepreneurial spirit. If somebody wants to do something, I don’t think government should step up into their faces. Leave it alone,” he said.