Motorists beware - parking fines in Ballarat have just jumped by 17 per cent.
After a three-year freeze, the penalty rate has now gone up to $76 as of July 1, an increase of $11.
The last increase was in 2016, when fines went up to $65 from $55, following two years where fines remained at the same level.
The percentage rise may seem large, but it pales in comparison to Bendigo, where prices have jumped by more than 50 per cent to $83.
The Ballarat parking fines remain slightly less than several neighbouring councils, with car parking fines in Warrnambool now at $80, marginally cheaper than the cost of infringements of $81 with the City of Geelong council.
The City of Ballarat council is set to make slightly more from fines this year than last. The levels anticipated in this year's draft budget are going up from $656,000 to $683,000, a rise of just over 4 per cent.
Those fines are not just for parking infringements, but also for as animal legislation and public health infringements as well as other statutory fines.
The format of the city's parking has been a lively topic of discussion for a number of years. Earlier this year, the council voted to adopt its Smarter Parking Plan, which will change the layout and pricing structure of parking in the city.
The first stage of the plan covered Zone 2, the mostly residential outer fringes of the CBD. Recently, new parking signs have been installed in the streets around the area, with the process expected to conclude shortly.
Council offered residents a first free street parking permit, a second one in some cases and a third one at $100 fee but only if they meet the criteria.
The second stage of the plan will focus on the CBD, where there are due to be new parking meters installed with number plate recognition as well as credit card technology.
The plan also includes a budget for a mobile phone app to allow users to pay for parking remotely. There could also be "number plate recognition enforcement vehicles" - but these would be subject to available finances.
Council recently invited a tender to provide of "integrated parking meters and associated technology", which closed last month.
"The City of Ballarat is going through the tender process at the moment and we hope to have an announcement in the near future," confirmed Terry Demeo, the council's director of environment and infrastructure.
"We expect the roll-out of Smarter Parking in Zone 1, which will include a new mobile phone app and flexible payment options on parking meters, to begin to take place later this year."
The CBD should also be gaining 1,000 new free car parking spots. Last year, Premier Daniel Andrews made an election campaign promise to provide the spaces, which the Labor Party said would take the pressure off neighbouring streets and make "it easier to get in and out of the city."
There has not yet been any confirmation on the timing and whereabouts of the new car parks.
Have you signed up to The Courier's daily newsletter and breaking news emails? You can register below and make sure you are up to date with everything that's happening in Ballarat.