Miami-Dade County

Parking fines nearly doubling in Miami-Dade as county seeks more revenue for courts

Miami Herald file photo

Miami-Dade plans a nearly 80 percent increase in parking fines countywide next year in a bid to raise more dollars for the court-clerk system and crack down on scofflaws.

The County Commission on Tuesday approved an ordinance updating the penalties parking violators pay countywide. While cities set their own parking rates, the fees paid for parking violations are set by Miami-Dade. If the violation takes place in a city, that government keeps two-thirds of the fine. The rest goes to Florida for distribution to local clerk offices that manage files and scheduling for the court system.

Starting on July 1, county law would boost the fine for an expired meter from $18 to $32. The revised ordinance also increases some penalties. Parking illegally while blocking an alley moves from a $28 fine to a $120 fine. The revised parking ordinance passed Tuesday with a lone No vote by Chairman Esteban “Steve” Bovo.

Last year, Miami-Dade Clerk Harvey Ruvin threatened to close satellite offices if the county didn’t find a way to fix a looming budget crunch caused by a lack of state funds. The county reworked the office’s budget and the announced layoffs and closures were scrapped. Ruvin said the funding emergency remained, and he urged Miami-Dade to adopt the higher parking fines.

Miami-Dade hasn’t changed its fines for about a decade, and they remain lower than in other parts of Florida. Supporters noted that in some of the priciest parking areas in Miami-Dade, including South Beach where parking can cost $4 an hour, risking an occasional $18 fine can be a smarter financial move than actually paying the meter.

“With these changes,” sponsor Sally Heyman said, “it won’t be cheaper to violate the law.”