Possible parking meter increase discussed

Times-Herald Newspapers

DEARBORN — Officials here are considering whether to raise parking meter fees and fines in the west downtown district.

At a City Council study session Wednesday, officials discussed a resolution that would raise the parking rate to 75 cents per hour from the current rate of 50 cents per hour.

Scott Mooney of Republic Parking, the company in charge of paid parking, said its goal is to do away with parking attendants and have a pay-by-phone system that allows users to pay with a credit or debit card.

Parking Advisory Commission officials say the West Dearborn Public Parking System currently has a $660,000 budget deficit, and that the increase in fees would add about $43,000.

Councilman Robert Abraham said he was hesitant to raise the fees or fines because he believes it to be only a temporary solution.

“It would create a lot of pain and suffering, as well as real high costs for changing signage,” he said. “We went through that when we adjusted the system in the beginning.

“Personally, I am not ready to go through that readjustment again.”

Abraham said he would be more in favor of a $10 fine for parking violations that would be shifted administratively, if it can be done without wasting money.

The current rate is $7 if the ticket is paid in three days. Abraham said if parking meter rates are raised to 75 cents and people already are putting $1.50 in the meter, that penalty may not be much of a deterrent.

Councilwoman Suzanne Sareni said that in order to cover the shortfall, the whole system of of parking meter fees could be increased to 75 cents, if the $1 rate is not supported.

The council and Mayor John O’Reilly Jr. said they would revisit the issue at an unspecified later date.

(Daniel Heraty can be reached at dheraty@bewickpublications.com.)