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Courts / Law

Tampa City Councilman Proposes "Food For Fines"

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Tampa City Councilman Guido Maniscalco

Tampa City Councilman Guido Maniscalco represents District 6. He knows all too well what it feels like to get a parking ticket in the city.

He has a proposal to allow people with parking tickets to donate non-perishable food items and get credit toward their parking fines, up to say, $15. The food would then be donated to Metropolitan Ministries, The Salvation Army, or another local food pantry for distribution to the needy.

"I've had several parking tickets in downtown over the years and it's never a pleasure. I call it 'making my donation to the city,'" Maniscalco said. "But in this sense, you're not just paying a fine. It takes the sting out of that. You know you have the opportunity to help."

Maniscalco said parking fines generate about $1.6 million in revenue for the city each year. So his plan would only have this "food for fines" program available during the winter holiday season. 

The city councils' lawyers are reviewing the idea. Maniscalco said he hopes he has the votes to move forward with it after the legal team clears it.