FORT SMITH – Patrons of downtown businesses will pay higher rates at the parking meters starting today. It is the first time that prices have been raised since 1985. Action authorizing the changes was approved by the Fort Smith City Board earlier this year.

Motorists on Garrison Avenue will now pay 50 cents an hour rather than the quarter they had previously paid. In the eighth street parking lot, prices will rise to a dime per fifteen minutes, a quarter for forty minutes, or 50 cents for an hour and a half. The previous rate was 25 centers per hour.

“The initial fine for parking when time has expired will be $10 if paid any time before 6 p.m. of the following day.” the City said in a news release Thursday. “After 6 p.m. the following day but before the fifth day following the violation, the fine will be $15. Beginning on the fifth day through the 15th day following the violation, the fine will be $20. After the 15th day following the violation, the fine will be $25.”

 The rates were raised by the Fort Smith City Board of Directors to help pay for new computerized meters that will have the ability to accept credit and debit cards.

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