School supply donations can pay off parking tickets

WHEELING, W.Va. (AP) — Those facing a parking ticket in Wheeling during the back-to-school season can now donate school supplies rather than pay the $10 fine.

The city launched a “Pencils (And More) For Parking” program this week, in which people can donate five school supply items in lieu of the fine for an overtime parking violation.

Through the program, which began July 14 and lasts through Aug. 14, the city will donate the school supplies to the Ohio County Schools Board of Education for students who need them.

“While I would never encourage anyone to get a parking ticket, I do hope that as we enter the back-to-school season, we are mindful of those in our community who are in need,” Mayor Glenn Elliott said.

Acceptable school supplies can include pencils, pens, dry erase markers, index cards, tissues, scissors, glue sticks, crayons, pencil boxes, notebooks and binders, according to a press release from the city.

The program was made official at Wheeling City Council’s meeting July 16, in which the body approved a resolution establishing a moratorium on fines in lieu of school supply donations.

“Pencils For Parking” is based on Wheeling’s “Food For Fines” initiative held during the holiday season in recent years. Through that program, created by former councilman Brian Wilson, residents donate canned goods to pay for parking tickets.

In December, the city resolved 44 traffic citations through the program, receiving 501 cans that were in turn donated to local food pantries.

Elliott said this summer’s initiative was inspired by the success of that program, and credited City Clerk Brenda Delbert for coming up with the idea.

“I thank the city clerk for bringing this idea to our attention. I think it’s a nice approach to a topic no one likes, parking tickets, and to use that to offset revenue for something that I believe to be a good cause,” Elliott said at July 16’s council meeting.

Donations can be taken to the city’s Finance Department on the first floor of the City-County Building, 1500 Chapline St., which is the same location where parking fines are paid.

The supplies will then be transported and donated to the Board of Education.