York City Council votes to extend grace period for parking meter fines

Maria Yohn
York Dispatch
This parking meter in the WeCo district was painted by someone who apparently was very optimistic about its passersby.

Drivers who receive a parking meter fine in York City now have almost twice the amount of time to pay it.

The York City Council voted unanimously to extend the payment deadline established in city ordinance Article 509 from eight to 14 days, during its Tuesday, April 17, legislative meeting.

Now, the legislation will move to Mayor Michael Helfrich's desk for his signature and will go into effect after a 20-day waiting period, according to Dianna Thompson-Mitchell, York City clerk.

Council president Henry Nixon, who had initially opposed the extension, said he didn't understand why it was needed at first.

"I studied it a little more and it finally made some sense to me," he said.

Background: Helfrich announced his goal to amend the parking ticket ordinance during a March 5 Facebook Live address to his constituents. In order to achieve that, he needed council approval. 

Helfrich argued that the deadline disproportionately punished lower-income individuals who live "paycheck to paycheck." The mayor said that he had received numerous complaints from individuals who received parking tickets and were unable to pay them until they received their next paycheck. 

"What folks said to me made a lot of sense. Five days doesn't even give some people enough time to get a paycheck to get the money, and the cost rises," he said during his address.

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At the time, Nixon responded to Helfrich's proposal in an interview, arguing that five days was "ample time" to pay a parking ticket.

"My first reaction was, 'Why?'" he said.

"I'm pretty strong about folks that do something that's against the law, regardless of how petty or small," he said.

Parking fines range from $20 for a meter violation to $100 for blocking a fire hydrant. The average fine is $25, according to the York City website.

Harrisburg allows drivers up to four days to pay parking fines, but Lancaster follows the model Helfrich proposed, allowing drivers up to 15 days to pay parking fines.