Shrewsbury Town Meeting may increase handicapped parking fines

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Shrewsbury Town Meeting may increase handicapped parking fines
Shrewsbury may be increasing its handicapped parking fines. (Photo/Caroline Gordon)

SHREWSBURY – Among the Town Meeting articles on the warrant, members will decide whether to approve a $200 increase in handicapped parking fines.

Director of Public Works Jeffrey Howland and Mountain View Cemetery Program Manager Justin Dobson came before the Select Board on Sept. 27 to present their research on the potential fine increase.

“The reason why we are looking at this increase from $100 to $300 is the bylaw currently requires only a $100 fine and that bylaw was adopted in 1984 … $100 in 1984 is about $285 today,” Dobson said. “Our line of thinking is if Town Meeting members were inclined to support a $100 fine in 1984, they may be willing to support a $300 fine today.”

Dobson, who has been providing staff support for the Commission on Disabilities, said that during the last few meetings, residents discussed adopting a provision of the Massachusetts General Law that would permit the town to set aside money from handicapped parking fines for the Commission on Disabilities.

He added that the money could only be taken from a parking fund, which is a special interest account that would be accrued each year upon the recommendation of the Commission on Disabilities and be subject to further approval by the Select Board.

If Town Meeting members were to approve the change of bylaw, residents would be charged $300 for a handicapped parking fine as opposed to the current fine of $100, according to Dobson.

He noted that the Commission on Disabilities would receive $200 out of the total fine and the rest would go toward local receipts.

Among the ways the Commission on Disabilities could use the funds, Dobson noted it could pay for motivational speakers and purchase technology to assist disabled residents.

“I like the idea of raising the fees for that [handicapped parking violations],” said Select Board Chair Moe DePalo. “I think there is a lot that could be done with those funds for the commission.”

Shrewsbury Town Meeting is Oct. 17.

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