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Wendy Reuer, Published June 11 2012

Moorhead passes parking changes, reviews election schedule

MOORHEAD – Motorists looking to park on the street here near the campuses of Minnesota State University Moorhead and Concordia College will not be able to do so without the risk of being towed or ticketed.

The City Council unanimously passed a number of new parking regulations Monday, as well as a $51,630 budget adjustment to implement them.

The regulations are based on recommendations of a 2011 study that examined parking from Third Street South to 17th Street South between Fourth and 16th avenues south.

Among those changes is a three-hour limit on streets within roughly a two-block radius around the two campuses. Some students and campus staff used to be able to park all day in those areas.

To enforce the new regulations, the city authorized spending around $30,000 to buy a new parking enforcement vehicle for part-time workers to use for increased enforcement.

The police department has recommended the city hire part-time student workers studying criminal justice for the enforcement.

Parking fines will also increase $5 from the current $20.

An even/odd parking restriction throughout the city during snow events will also be implemented. That policy would ask drivers to park only on certain sides of the street if more than 2 inches falls so that plows can work overnight to clear the area. Violators of the policy could be towed.

Additional parking signs and street painting will make the new parking rules clearer.

In other business:

The City Council delayed voting on changing the timeline of city elections from odd-numbered years to even, when general elections are held.

City Clerk Jill Wenger said that the city could save more than $16,000 and at least 352 city staff hours every odd year by making the change. Odd-year elections also typically see lower voter turnout than general election years.

The change would amend the City Council and therefore needs nine votes, or all council members plus the mayor, to vote “yes” on the issue to pass.

Councilman Luther Stueland was not at Monday’s meeting, so the issue will be discussed at the council’s next meeting, June 18.

Readers can reach Forum reporter Wendy Reuer at (701) 241-5530