The York City Council voted unanimously this week to lower the fine for violating the street sweeping ordinance, but the costs for other parking tickets will increase in 2019. 

The amendment approved at a Wednesday, Jan. 16, meeting lowers fines for cars parked in prohibited areas on street sweeping days by $10, from $50 to $40. 

However, other parking fine increases will soon follow, according to city spokesman Philip Given.

Unlike the changes to street sweeping fines, the increases fall within the ordinance ranges and are not subject to council approval, he said. 

Fine increases range from $5 to $50, according to a list supplied by the city. 

The changes are expected to roll out later this month, once the pricing changes are loaded into the handheld ticketing system, Given said. 

The changes create a fairer fining system, Mayor Michael Helfrich said. 

"Basically, street sweeping fines are unintentional mistakes," he said, adding that many of these tickets go to homeowners and renters who are already paying high taxes in the city. 

"And now they're getting a fine for a simple mistake that is disproportionate to the fines that most people get, sometimes for intentionally creating dangerous situations," the mayor said. 

Parking too close to an intersection, double parking and other illegal parking situations can lead to accidents, Helfrich said. 

Increases include a $10 hike for double parking fines, from $50 to $60; a $10 hike for parking too close to an intersection, from $25 to $35; and a $50 hike for parking in a handicap parking space, from $100 to $150. 

While overstaying in a metered space also might be considered an oversight, that fine is increasing too.

The city was not in the "financial position" to just cut the costs of street sweeping tickets, Helfrich said, so there is also $5 hike, from $20 to $25, for parking overtime fines. 

"So folks should keep an eye on their meters, use your watch or your iPhone, set an alarm and make sure you get back to put (in) that extra dollar," he said. 

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In other business: During the meeting, the City Council also unanimously approved two health grants, one to fund sexually transmitted disease-related services and one to focus on measures to fight the opioid epidemic. 

The York City Health Bureau was awarded $25,000 by the Federal Title X Family Planning funds from Family Health Council of Central Pennsylvania Inc. The grant will fund a nurse for three months, starting Jan. 1, to perform physical exams for symptomatic patients in an STD clinic, said director of health Barbara Kovacs. 

The intent is to continue funding the nurse after March with additional funding hopefully coming through, she said. 

The health bureau also was awarded $36,000 by the state for emergency preparedness. That money will go toward opioid services, including a rapid response team and developing a data tracking system, Kovacs said. 

The City Council also approved a $37,000 grant for the York City Police Department though the 2018 Edward Memorial Justice Assistance Grant. 

Councilwoman Edquina Washington said the grant money will help fund power software maintenance as well as a youth summer program. 

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