Mayor wants to dou­ble park­ing me­ter fees

Daily Freeman (Kingston, NY) - - FRONT PAGE - By Paul Kirby pkirby@free­manon­line.com paulat­free­man on Twit­ter

Mayor Steve Noble has pro­posed dou­bling on-street park­ing me­ter fees.

The pro­posal is part of a park­ing strat­egy by the mayor that also in­cludes in­stalling me­ters or pay sta­tions in mu­nic­i­pal lots where park­ing cur­rently is free.

In his most re­cent weekly Mayor’s Mes­sage, Noble called for the cost of me­tered park­ing to rise from 50 cents an hour to $1. He ex­pects the increase to take ef­fect Jan. 1.

Noble said he will dis­cuss his plan with city law­mak­ers on Nov. 21.

“The price on the me­ters have not been ad­justed since 2007, when they were in­stalled,” Noble said in an email. “We re­searched me­tered rates in other com­mu­ni­ties and used that data as part of the prepa­ra­tion of our pro­posed fee.

He noted hourly park­ing me­ter fees of $1 in Pough­keep­sie, $1.25 in Syra­cuse and $1.50 in Ithaca.

Noble said the fines for park­ing me­ter vi­o­la­tions also would increase un­der his plan. The base fine would rise from $20 to $25; the fine af­ter 15 days would rise from $40 to $50.

“As I ex­pected, the re­sponse to my pro­posal to in­sti­tute paid park­ing in our mu­nic­i­pal lots and to increase fees for on-street park­ing has been mixed,” Noble said.

“I have heard from some in­di­vid­u­als and busi­nesses that they much pre­fer user­based fees rather than increased taxes,” he said, but “oth­ers have re­sponded that this will place a bur­den on our res­i­dents and em­ploy­ees work­ing in our busi­ness districts.”

Noble said his pro­pos­als are based on the city’s need to gen­er­ate rev­enue.

“The city is tak­ing a proac­tive ap­proach to lower its ex­penses, but the vast ma­jor­ity of city spend­ing is made up of man­dated costs that are not amend­able,” the pro­posal states. “With in­sur­ance costs alone pro­jected to increase by $700,000, the city must either raise taxes or raise rev­enues.”

Noble wants to have park­ing pay­ment kiosks in some or all of the roughly half­dozen mu­nic­i­pal lots in Kingston, and five com­pa­nies that pro­vide them have sub­mit­ted pro­pos­als to City Hall.

Kingston in­tends to buy or lease about 15 of the pay sta­tions.

Noble has said the kiosk sys­tem would be ben­e­fi­cial to users.

“Users of our park­ing lots will be able to eas­ily pay by cash or credit card at kiosks, with short-term and dis­counted long-term op­tions avail­able,” he said.

Noble’s 2017 city bud­get in­cludes about $175,000 in rev­enue from the park­ing lots.

Noble has said the city also might ac­ti­vate a sys­tem that would make it eas­ier to pay at the ex­ist­ing on­street me­ters.

“Our on-street me­ters will also soon al­low pay­ment by smart­phone,” he said. “Users will be able to re­ceive alerts when their time is run­ning out and will be able to add ad­di­tional time through an easy-to-use app on their phones.”

TANIA BARRICKLO — DAILY FREE­MAN

A park­ing me­ter stands on Wall Street in Up­town Kingston on Wed­nes­day.

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