Bethlehem sets higher parking fines during Musikfest

BETHLEHEM, Pa. - Illegal parking again will cost you more during Bethlehem's annual Musikfest.

On Tuesday night, City Council unanimously approved raising parking fines on both the north and south sides of town during Musikfest 2014 – beginning at noon Aug. 1 and continuing until 11:59 p.m. Aug. 10.

Fines will be $30 -- twice as much as usual -- if paid within 14 days, then $45 until a citation is issued and $65 after a citation is issued.

Someone who still fails to pay will face additional costs and even the possibility of up to 10 days in jail.

Those who illegally park at spaces reserved for handicapped drivers face much steeper fines, beginning at $100 and climbing as high as $250 if not promptly paid.

While City Council member Karen Dolan said she supports the resolution implementing increased parking fines during the annual music festival, she was concerned about how people will be warned that they are higher.

Mayor Robert Donchez said the increases will be posted on the home page of the city's website.

No other members of City Council had any questions about the fines, which are increased every year during Musikfest in designated special event parking districts both north and south of the Lehigh River.

The North Side Special Events Parking Area extends north from the river along Eighth Avenue to Eaton Avenue, east on Eaton to Elizabeth Avenue, east on Elizabeth to Linden Street and south on Linden back to the river.

The South Side area extends south from the river along Wyandotte Street to Third Street, east on Third to Brodhead Avenue, south on Brodhead to West Packer Avenue, east on Packer to Hillside Avenue, south on Hillside to Thomas Street, east from Thomas along Sixth Street through St. Michael's Cemetery and continuing along Sixth to Lynn Avenue, north on Lynn to Fourth Street, east on Fourth to Emery Street and north along Emery to the river.

Also during Tuesday's meeting:

*Council member Bryan Callahan proudly announced Bethlehem ranks third among the top 10 most livable cities in Pennsylvania.

"We're getting recognized for something we already know – we have an unbelievable city," said Callahan. That ranking was done by CreditDonkey, a credit card comparison and financial education website. Easton was number 10.
Allentown was not in the top 10.

* The mayor announced Bethlehem will begin planning a year-long community celebration of the 275th anniversary of its founding, which will begin on July 1, 2016. He said the 100th anniversary of the date when three boroughs – Bethlehem, South Bethlehem and West Bethlehem – completed a merger to create the city also falls within that time frame.

* Donchez also announced work was initiated Tuesday on the 2015 Bethlehem budget within individual departments of the city, "about two months earlier than in the past."

*The mayor told council that the city's water filtration plant was awarded for the sixth consecutive year with an Area Wide Optimization Program award. "The city is blessed with a very pristine water supply up in the Poconos," which helps Bethlehem win the award, said Edward Boscola, director of the city's water department. The award is given to filtration plants that "go beyond what is legally required and produce the best water quality possible."

*Council honored Robert Tomecek, who is retiring after 26 years of service to the city. He was hired as a paramedic in 1988.

*City Council's next meeting will begin at 5:30 p.m. Aug. 5, rather than at 7:30 p.m., because of Musikfest.

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Allentown, PA 18102




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