While after many attempts, the vote on parking meters finally made it past the city council this past Monday. With strong public opinion against the idea, not only at the last two council meetings, but also on social media, it makes people wonder do our elected officials care about what the public thinks. The second plan was not much different than the previous plan that was voted down two weeks before. It’s actually going to cost 87,000 dollars more. Could this plan turn out like the garbage plan and end up costing tax payers more money, plenty of people believe it will.
The reason given for the need to install parking meters is because the city needs revenue. The city actually needs to cut spending, but that won’t be in plans, what is in plans is to get more money, at the expense of locals and tourists. What will the city do with the money, it makes from the meters. Will it go back in the general fund to help close the budget gap? Will it be spent like casino money on everything and anything? Speaking of casino money, how it is possible to spend 355,000 on meters. Casino money is supposed to be spent on economic development, parking meters don’t sound like economic development, if anything it may possibly hurt future development.
Furthermore what effects will meters have on business in the area, could it hurt business, and make future developers think twice about doing business here. Locals may think twice about going downtown and choose to go to other towns and cities in the area were parking is free. Businesses in the area already have to pay the highest property taxes in the state, and the highest in the nation, parking meters will hurt local establishments. This is just another reason for people not to go downtown, and if they do why not just go to the casino were parking is free. Why go to a restaurant downtown, when people can go out to military road and park for free.
In reality how much money are these meters going to make, most likely they will make money in the prime tourist season, but will it be enough to cover the costs. How about in the off season when there are not a lot of people downtown, there’s usually plenty of parking available. This is when the city will lose money, and the money they lose, will have to be made up from the money they make, cutting into any profits that could be made.
Finally were local businesses consulted, why was there no public hearing? In the end these meters could turn out to cost more then what we are being told, such as other government projects here. In the end only time will tell.