Fines to more than double as Tama tries to curb illegal parking

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TAMA, Iowa (KCRG) - No driver ever wants to get a parking ticket, and that will definitely be true starting this summer in one eastern Iowa community.

The Tama city council recently approved a hike in its parking fines, jumping from $20 to $50.

Mayor Mike Carnahan said the city has been receiving many complaints about parking violations over the last couple months.

Some streets in Tama, especially residential streets, are narrow, so the city requires people to switch which side of the road they park on every day to make sure there’s enough room for cars to drive.

But Carnahan said not everyone is following the rules, which has become a safety hazard.

"We're just concerned that we're not going to be able to get emergency vehicles through if we need to,” he said.

Carnahan said Tama police have recently been cracking down on illegal parking and issuing more tickets.

Over the next month and a half, he said there will be a “grace period” before the new $50 rate goes into effect.

"We just kind of felt like that was going to be a good, round number for us to use,” he said. “It hasn't been raised since our code book was written, back whenever that was, in the early 70s or whenever."

Some Tama residents said $50 is too much for a parking ticket, though one of them did say he believes illegal parking is a problem that needs to be addressed.

Those $50 tickets are more than other people are paying across eastern Iowa for the same violation.

In Cedar Rapids, illegal parking fines are $25; in Dubuque and Iowa City, they’re $15; and not far from Tama, in Toledo, parking tickets are $20.

Carnahan said he hopes that police don’t have to give these tickets and that drivers just follow the parking rules.

"The hope is that they're going to be deterred from parking illegally,” he said.