SHOALHAVEN City Council has been challenged to reinvest some of the funds it collects from parking fines back into establishing more all-day car parking in the Nowra CBD.
For the 2012-13 financial year council received more than $690,000 city-wide in parking fines, with Nowra businessman Scott Baxter saying some of those funds should be put back into parking.
Despite four years of battles over car parking, he said little had been achieved.
“Council collected nearly $700,000 in parking fines last year. Sure, not all of that comes from the Nowra CBD but I would say at least three quarters of it does,” he said.
“Council maintains there isn’t a parking problem yet the amount of fines says otherwise.
“In some areas we believe fines in the Nowra CBD have gone up by 50 per cent.
“Council wants the shops to have more business yet they are deterring the people they want to come and shop.
“If they want to improve the Nowra CBD, stop fining people.
“I’m not saying get rid of parking fines but if fines are increasing there is a problem. And the problem is we don’t have enough all day car parking spaces.
“If council wants to collect whatever the amount is, I believe that money should go back to providing better facilities.
“Council is taking the money but not solving the problem.
“I don’t understand council’s rational, they say they are all for improving the CBD but we have said for years there is a problem with car parking yet they [council] have done nothing.”
Council general manager Russ Pigg said while the city might have collected $690,000 last year in fines, the cost of providing the service was close to $500,000.
“I think the cost was around $486,000 to run the parking unit,” he said.
“While the service makes money, it is not a huge amount.
“And not all of that $690,000 comes from the Nowra CBD.
“Parking officers also work in Ulladulla, Milton, Berry, Huskisson and Bomaderry.
“Certainly, the largest percentage of those funds probably comes from the Nowra CBD, but certainly not all of it.
“You can’t just look at the revenue received. It comes at a cost.
“There are obviously costs in providing that service, paying the parking officers, administration costs and everything else the parking division carries out.”
Money from fines are returned to council by the State Debt Recovery Office, which go into council’s overall revenue base for operations.
Mr Pigg said there had never been a resolution stating that funds received from parking fines would be placed back into providing car parking.
To date in the 2013-14 financial year, council has received $589,000 city wide for parking fines, with approximately 60 per cent or around $350,000 generated in the Nowra area.