JAMESTOWN – The Jamestown City Council will be reviewing a plan to increase downtown parking rates and fines when it meets tonight at city hall. Another proposal would eliminate the long-standing, two-hour Free Parking Zone located in the core of the downtown.
As part of his 2021 executive budget, Jamestown Mayor Eddie Sundquist is calling for an increase in revenue from both downtown parking as well as from fines for parking violations. He said the increased revenue would come from anticipated hikes in parking rates as well as parking fines.
Sundquist will present specific details of his parking proposal on Monday night. According to the meeting pre-file documents, the plan involves increasing metered parking by 50 cents an hour and also increase fines by $5.
The current rate for parking meters is 50 cents an hour, meaning the new rate would increase to $1 an hour. Metered parking in downtown Jamestown is in place from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. during non-holiday weekdays. Meanwhile, a standard parking ticket for Jamestown costs $10, but would increase to $15 under Sundquist’s proposal.
The adjustments are expected to help raise revenue for the city budget.
- For parking violations, the mayor is calling for an 11% increase in revenue (+$24,000) over 2019 . However, that is still 5.4% (-$14,000) lower than the revenue that was originally projected in the final 2020 budget.
- For On-Street Parking Meters, the mayor is calling for an 18.5% increase in revenue (+$29,000) over 2019.
- And for Parking Lots and Garages, the mayor is calling for a 21.5% increase in revenue (+$15,000) over 2019.
(We are comparing the numbers to 2019 instead of 2020, because of the current year being impacted by COVID-19)
COUNCIL TO CONSIDER REMOVING DOWNTOWN FREE PARKING ZONE
The council will also discuss a proposed ordinance to eliminate the courtesy (free) parking zone and increasing downtown owner parking permit costs. The proposals, again from Sundquist, are intended to help generate more parking revenue for the city.
The courtesy parking zone is located along Third Street from Washington Street to Spring Street, and also on Cherry, Main, and Pine Streets, between Second and Fourth Streets.
Three years ago the city council also considered eliminating the zone, under a recommendation from an ad hoc Downtown Parking Commission created by then-mayor Sam Teresi. However, the council ultimately tabled the ordinance because there wasn’t any funding to pay for additional meters downtown, there was no need to immediately act on the matter.
In late 2017, WRFA spoke with 15 different downtown businesses located in the courtesy parking zones, and learned that all but two of them were opposed to removing the free parking zone. The businesses also said the parking commission never consulted with them prior to putting forward the recommendation. It’s not know if mayor Sundquist and his staff have approached downtown businesses to get their thought on the matter.
In addition to helping increase revenue for the city, the 2017 study also noted that the free parking zone creates challenges for parking enforcement as the reason for eliminating it.
Monday’s work session begins at 7:30 p.m. and will streamed at the city website due to COVID-19.