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Columbia City Council Discusses Parking Ticket Enforcement, Approves New Recycling App

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The Columbia City Council originally passed a measure in February declaring some parts of the city "blighted."

The city of Columbia took in nearly one million dollars in parking revenues from January to August 2015 according to a parking system and enforcement report released last week. That’s more parking revenue than in all of 2014. 

The city also has an outstanding balance of a little under $439,000 in unpaid tickets. City council members discussed the report at Monday night’s meeting and focused on the lack of proper enforcement for unpaid tickets.

“If you don’t do a good job of enforcement, the whole kind of system starts to fail,” Fourth Ward Council Member Ian Thomas said. “People expect not to have to pay their parking tickets. The first thing is to really tighten up enforcement.”

Mayor Bob McDavid said although parking revenue seems high it is only enough to break even on municipal court and enforcement division costs. He said if the city tightened enforcement the money collected could be used to support police officers. City Manager Mike Matthes said he plans to analyze parking enforcement and present recommendations to the council in the near future.

The council also approved a software service agreement that will provide real-time recycling information to city customers. This new city recycling app may be reaching smart phones throughout Columbia in the near future. The initiative came after community members expressed a desire to know more about how to recycle. Deputy City Manager John Glascock said this would add to the city’s recycling education efforts.

“It also enhances our educational component,” Glascock said.  “We educate on recycling all the time, go out to schools and those kind of things. This is just another tool in the toolbox that we’re trying to get to see if it works.”

Features of the app include collection day reminders, notifications of truck route changes on holidays, and maps to locate city recycling points. Customers will also be able to type in product names to determine if the items can be recycled. The two-year agreement will cost the city a little under $26,000. 

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