Council rangers go high-tech
By DAVID MOASE
GETTING a parking fine in Coffs Harbour from now on will save you money . . . sort of.
Overstaying drivers will still have to pay the standard $75 fine but the cost of administering the infringement notice will be less and create savings up to $30,000 a year for ratepayers.
The savings will be created thanks to six new hand-held electronic devices Coffs Harbour City Council rangers started using yesterday to issue fines.
Each of the palm-sized machines, which cost a total of $60,000, is capable of issuing an on-the-spot infringement notice as well as collecting photographic and recorded verbal evidence.
They will be used to deal with parking, environmental, planning, animal and food law infringements.
Senior ranger David Brooks was impressed after one day of using the machines.
"It is a totally different environment and it will probably be a bit slow for the first couple of weeks while we get used to using them," he said.
"Once we get used to them, however, it will be a real time saver.
"All the information entered into the PinForce machines will be downloaded into a central computer application each time the rangers return to their desks.
"Previously, the handwritten information they took down had to be retyped into the system and again at the NSW Infringement Processing Bureau.
"PinForce will save a huge amount of time in terms of administration as well as cutting inputting errors by up to 75 per cent."
Marking the tyres of cars with chalk will now no longer be necessary, meaning rangers will be able to enforce parking restrictions on wet days.
"The devices can record relevant details electronically and this will mean that motorists face far less chance of being accidentally fined if they have moved their cars," Mr Brooks said.
"But it also means drivers won't know whether or not their vehicle has been marked and in future the public will need to pay more attention to the time limits."