Increasing parking and vehicle penalties on Merced County board agenda

The Board of Supervisors on Tuesday will consider adopting an ordinance that increases fines for parking citations and vehicle infractions.

If approved, the increases would affect several types of infractions, from parking in a red zone or handicapped space to obstructing a bike path. It would include state vehicle infractions such as missing license plates and expired registrations.

Most of the proposed increases would cost residents an extra $100, except those related to prohibited parking. Blocking a handicapped space or parking in one would more than quadruple, from $275 to $1,105. Parking in a bus zone would rise from $250 to $1,105; parking over a line next to a handicapped space or near a sidewalk access ramp would also cost $1,105.

County officials said the increases are necessary to become consistent with the fees charged by the city of Merced and neighboring counties.

The board will also consider a proposed ordinance that would decrease the number of members on county recreation commissions and committees.

“Due to the large size of most of the committees, it has been difficult to find volunteers for all positions,” according to county documents. There are 10 committees and the action on today’s agenda would reduce membership to five volunteers for each committee, except for Planada.

The item would also eliminate the County Recreation Commission, which has not been active since 1995, consolidate the Ballico and Cressey commissions into one and create a new Franklin/ Beachwood area commission.

The board will also consider setting a first reading on May 6 to adopt a permanent countywide fireworks ordinance. In July, county supervisors approved temporary fireworks stands in the unincorporated parts of Merced County.

Supported by the Merced County Fire Department the ordinance would allow the sale and use of Safe and Sane fireworks in unincorporated communities. If approved, nonprofit organizations could run stands selling the fireworks after paying certain fees and passing a site inspection.

County supervisors will also look at continuing a proclamation of a local emergency due to the drought, originally adopted Feb. 25. According to county documents, efforts are underway to better conserve and manage water in the county, including reducing irrigation at parks.

The Board of Supervisors will meet at 10 a.m. today in its chamber on the third floor of the Merced County Administration Building, 2222 M St.