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Lake George officials consider changes to parking policies and fines

Katie Cassavant and Jason Smegal, of Pittsfield, Mass., inspect one of the pay-and-display solar-powered parking meters the village of Lake George installed several years ago along Canada St. Lake George Village trustees are considering issuing courtesy warning tickets for motorists who overstay their time limits — which is expected to substantially cut revenue. The trustees are also considering raising the fines for parking violations, a move which could partially offset the lost ticket revenue.

Katie Cassavant and Jason Smegal, of Pittsfield, Mass., inspect one of the pay-and-display solar-powered parking meters the village of Lake George installed several years ago along Canada St. Lake George Village trustees are considering issuing courtesy warning tickets for motorists who overstay their time limits — which is expected to substantially cut revenue. The trustees are also considering raising the fines for parking violations, a move which could partially offset the lost ticket revenue.

— Parking in the Village of Lake George can be a frustrating experience — even more so if you receive a ticket for staying a few minutes past the meter’s time limit.

The village trustees are now seeking to make parking a little more pleasant experience by issuing overtime courtesy warning notices, rather than parking tickets that turn a $1 stay into a $15 hassle.

They are also considering hiking the fees for unpaid parking tickets — in part to offset anticipated lost revenue from issuing courtesy notices.

Years ago, Lake George had a policy that gave motorists a little leeway, with parking compliance officers issuing warning tickets when meters ran out, then they’d return in 30 minutes or so to check on whether the driver fed the meter more money in the meantime. If no more money was deposited, they’d be facing a fine.

This leniency ended in 2008 — when the courtesy warnings were eliminated.

Monday Jan. 13, the trustees talked about reinstating the courtesy notices, an initiative suggested by councilman John Root who said the village could be a little more accommodating to tourists.

Mayor Robert Blais warned that issuing courtesy warning could cost the village $100,000 per year of its $500,000 or so annual parking income.

In response, trustees Root and Ray Perry both suggested that courtesy parking notices could be issued only on one or two days per week or during limited times.

Also, Blais warned that some people would switch warning tickets from one vehicle to another to gain extra time or ward off the enforcement officers for a while.

One former initiative, to allow locals to park on the streets at no charge, caused problems as the parking spaces in front of retail stores were clogged by local vehicles, leaving too few spaces for tourists who were likely to shop in local stores and support the merchants, Blais said.

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