By Mike Dunn

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – A City Council committee has approved adding a $4 surcharge to all parking tickets, with some of the money potentially set aside for the city’s parks. Questions about the bill’s legality remain.

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The proposal from Councilman Mark Squilla would add a $4 surcharge to all parking tickets, with half of that going to the Department of Parks and Recreation. At the hearing, park advocates like Derek Freres of the Philadelphia Parks Alliance said they wouldn’t mind the increase.

“At least we know in this case that the fee is going to a very good cause, which is supporting our parks and recreation centers across the city. And I wouldn’t have a problem paying it.”

The other $2 of the surcharge would go to the Philadelphia Parking Authority for boosting enforcement of taxi and limousine regulations.

Parks advocate Thelma Jones Benbow told council that people who get tickets shouldn’t complain.

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“If they did what they were supposed to be doing, they wouldn’t be getting a ticket in the first place.”

Squilla estimates the surcharge would bring in $2 million a year for the parks, and the same amount to the Authority.

But a top Nutter Administration official, First Deputy Chief of Staff Suzanne Biemiller, testified that the measure is not legal, in part because net parking ticket proceeds go to the School District. The Parking Authority’s legal counsel, Dennis Wheldon, disputed that view.

The committee approved the plan and sent it to the full council for a vote. Should that come, the mayor’s veto would be expected, given the administration’s view on the bill’s legality.

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