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Update: Detroit reduces fines for parking violations

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The fee would go from $45 to $22.50 for Detroit residents if paid within five days

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Update: Detroit City Council officially passed the ordinance discussed in this piece.

There was considerable consternation when, in 2015, the city of Detroit increased fines for low-level parking tickets to $45 and eliminated the $10 early payment discount.

That amount may soon be reduced by 50 percent. But only for some parking violations and only for Detroit residents.

In a new ordinance proposed by Council President Pro Tem Mary Sheffield and Council President Brenda Jones, fines for parking in a prohibited or no parking area and for meter violations would go down to $22.50 if paid within five days of receiving the ticket.

The rule change only applies to individuals whose vehicle is registered in the city of Detroit. All other violations and those paid after five days will remain $45 and up.

Revising the parking ordinance has been under consideration for some time.

“It continues to be a barrier for Detroit residents, especially low-income residents needing to come downtown and transact business and partake in activities,” Sheffield told the Detroit News. “This will provide some relief.”

According to the Detroit News, if approved, the ordinance would reduce the city’s budget by only an estimated $73,000 annually. Mayor Mike Duggan was opposed to an earlier version of the ordinance, saying it would cost the city necessary revenue. He supports this version.

While the city of Detroit’s legal department has approved the legislation, the Detroit News spoke with other experts who expressed skepticism about its legality.

Gerald Fisher, an emeritus professor with Western Michigan University’s Cooley Law School who has four decades of experience in municipal law, warns that “you can’t treat outsiders and insiders differently on public streets. Especially if they are state highways or county roads.”

There will be a public hearing on June 24 to consider the ordinance.

Earlier this year, Detroit City Council passed an ordinance to allow residential streets to create zones where only permit holders can park.