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City bolsters parking enforcement

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By Barbara Taormina

City Councillors have approved a pay raise for parking enforcement officers, a move which could help pave the way for a residential parking sticker program. Pay for the parking officers will jump from the current rate of $15.81 an hour to $19.38 for 2018. Next year, the pay will increase to $19.76. Maria Luise, special assistant to Mayor Gary Christenson, said the increase brings the pay for the Malden’s parking officers in line with salaries in other communities and with the city’s crossing guards, who earn a starting pay of $18.61 an hour.

In addition to the pay increase, the city plans to hire more people to enforce parking regulations. Most enforcement officers work part time, and the city pays for 189 hours a week of patrolling and ticketing. The plan is to increase that coverage with 75 additional hours of patrols.

The most recent push to bring residential parking to Malden was stalled with the realization that the city did not have a program in place to handle staff, stickers and tickets. However, this year’s budget included $734,684 to establish a new department to oversee all aspects of parking throughout the city. In addition to the enforcement officers, the department’s budget includes salaries for a director, supervisor, part-time supervisor, clerk and a person to oversee meter collections and repairs. The budget also includes just under $100,000 for expenses, such as overtime, vehicle expenses, equipment and fees.

Still, residents remain divided over whether the city should adopt a citywide residential parking sticker program. Residents who oppose sticker fees and additional parking restrictions have dominated public discussions on the issue. And last month, a majority of residents voted no on a nonbinding ballot question that proposed a citywide residential parking program. However, in some wards and neighborhoods where commuters take advantage of the city’s free street parking, residents voted in favor of parking stickers.

Ward 2 Councillor Paul Condon has said he hopes to bring residential parking to his constituents even if the rest of the city rejects the idea

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