Revisiting price of parking


The City of Delaware’s discussions for a proposed increase to the downtown parking rate continued during Monday’s meeting of Delaware City Council as two alternative proposals were presented to the council for consideration.

Under the current proposal, the parking rates at metered spaces would increase from the current rate of 25 cents per hour to $1 per hour or 25 cents per 15-minute increments. According to the city, the rate increase would represent an approximately three-fold increase in revenue from parking for the 2023 fiscal year. Currently, the city’s parking budget is being subsidized by the Street Maintenance and Repairs Fund, as well as the General Fund.

Such an increase has been met with considerable opposition from downtown business owners, however, particularly given the suddenness of the sizable increase. Those concerns, which were expressed as part of a public hearing during the second reading of the ordinance at the Feb. 27 council meeting, led some council members to ask that the city consider additional proposals that feature an extended timeline to the ultimate goal of reaching the $1 rate.

By implementing the increase as currently proposed, the negative balance in the city’s parking budget in 2023 and 2024 would become a positive balance of $38,269 in 2025 and $93,584 in 2026, according to the city. The positive balances would become discretionary money for lot improvements and other costs, including funding future infrastructure such as kiosks and, potentially, a downtown parking structure, the city stated.

During Monday’s meeting, Assistant City Manager Kyle Kridler detailed two alternative proposals that would see the rate increase to 50 cents on July 1 before eventually reaching $1. Under the first alternative proposal, the rate would increase to 50 cents before increasing to $1 on Jan. 1, 2024.

Such a proposal would still create a positive, albeit smaller, balance of $24,009 in 2025 and $79,324 in 2026 for the city’s parking budget.

Under the second alternative proposal, which represents the longest timeline for reaching the $1 rate, the rate would increase to 50 cents on July 1 and would not increase to $1 until the following year on July 1, 2024. Kridler said such a proposal would bring about an $89,267 negative balance in 2023, an $81,113 negative balance in 2024, and still a $24,637 negative balance in 2025 before becoming a positive balance of $30,678 in 2026.

While the city fulfilled council’s request to draft additional proposals, it has remained steadfast in requesting the jump immediately to a $1 rate on July 1 per the original proposal.

“While staff recognizes the desire to phase in parking rate increases, it continues to recommend a full increase in parking rates to $1 per hour effective July 1, 2023,” a city document stated. “With a phased approach, staff fears that expectations for better service levels will rise immediately, but the city will not generate the revenues to begin needed improvements until 2025 or 2026.”

No action was taken by council following Monday’s third reading of the ordinance. A work session meeting has been scheduled for council members to further consider the alternative proposals ahead of the next council meeting and the ordinance’s fourth reading, which is scheduled for Monday, March 27.

Reach Dillon Davis at 740-413-0904. Follow him on Twitter @DillonDavis56.

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