Trading parking tickets for school supplies

Published: Jul. 28, 2019 at 8:02 PM CDT
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The Las Vegas City Council recently approved a program that would allow parking tickets to be paid with a school supply donation for a limited time.

Council members here in Sioux Falls will be proposing something similar at a meeting next month. The City of Sioux Falls collects $250,000 a year in overtime parking fees.

The monthly revenue from this could be up to $21,000 so a group of councilors feel this new program wouldn't hurt to help children in need of school supplies.

"That’s from people coming out of Minervas a few seconds or minutes late and getting a $10 ticket," City Councilor, Theresa Stehly said.

Councilor Stehly was contacted by Sioux Falls residents on Facebook after they saw that a program in Las Vegas would use parking fees to donate school supplies for children.

"So hearing from these people on Facebook a few weeks ago about this program in Las Vegas I shared it and it went ballistic," Stehly said.

In Vegas, the City Council voted unanimously to allow people to pay parking tickets with school supplies to help the students and families with low income.

The program in Vegas would be a month long plan that accepts new school supplies equaling or exceeding the fine value.

"Designating a week or two of allocating that money towards helping these children buy school supplies it seems to be resonating with a lot of people," Stehly said.

While brainstorming, council members thought it would be easier for people to check a box rather than having people go out and buy the school supplies themselves.

"Maybe have a citizen check off a box on their parking ticket saying ‘yes I would like this to go towards 'Project SOS'," Stehly said.

Right now in Sioux Falls 'The Banquet' is running a program called 'Project SOS' that helps collect school supplies for local families with limited resources.

"This particular $10 ticket goes to help buy supplies or no we'd rather just pay the ticket. It would be taking a little bit of time out of that week or two before school starts to allow people to help with this program if they'd like," Stehly said.

The plan that has been drafted would give Mayor Paul Ten Haken the flexibility to decide how something like this would work.

The new program will be proposed at the August 13th council meeting. If approved the pilot program would start sometime next year.