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ST MARYS — The increase in parking permit fines within the city of St. Marys has improved payment times by more than 40 percent, said City Manager Tim Pearson at Monday evening’s council meeting.

Resolution No. 19-04, which “sets penalties for violation of certain parking regulations, and establishing a tiered system of parking permits,” started June 3. It was put in place to bring about better utilization of downtown parking for local businesses, and encourage the use of the parking garage, said councilman Andrew Mohney.

Pearson told council members he talked to St. Marys Police Department Chief Tom Nicklas, who reported the parking transition seems to be going smoothly. The new plan has been active for more than 15 days.

“Permit holders have been contacted about converting into the current permit structure, or whether or not they are going to ride it out,” he said. “So far, so good, there are no issues up to this point.”

SMCC also increased parking fines within the city from $5 to $10. Officials are already seeing an increase, with 44 percent of people paying their fine within the first three days, to now 86 percent, Pearson said.

Council also passed the Quality of Life Ticket Ordinance May 20. The ordinance addresses things like blight, vegetation, littering, dissembling or dumping of motor vehicles in backyards and other issues.

“People are taking notice of the new guidelines,” Pearson said. “I met with code enforcement last week. We approved the new ticket pads and how they will fill them out. We should have those tickets in July, to start utilizing the new process we have.”

The point of the ordinance is not for residents to email council and tell them to issue tickets, Pearson said, but to tell the city of issues, so they can work with residents to get them resolved.

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“A reminder to council and residents as well — the ticketing tool does not change the process,” he said.

Council also discussed that construction on the boulevard and updates to the diamond are complete.

“One thing you will notice is that two benches are missing on the diamond,” Pearson said. “We have temporarily moved two benches in front of the Veterans Memorial.”

The city will be receiving four benches in early July.

Bids have been opened for the downtown St. Marys park project, Pearson said, with three contractors submitting bids. Kane Lawn & Garden was the chosen bidder at $228,965.53.

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