On June 7, 2023

Aldermen increase parking rates, fines

 

Staff report 

Parking rates and fines are going up in Rutland. 

The Board of Aldermen unanimously voted on Monday, June 5 to increase the meter rates to $1.50 per hour, up from 50 cents an hour. 

The board also voted 6-4 to double fines to $30 for an expired meter. A second violation would be $45 and a third violation would be $60.

Prior to the vote, the parking committee compared Rutland’s parking rates to nine nearby towns, where they found the parking rates ranged from 95 cents an hour in Barre to $2.35 per hour in Lake George, New York. 

Alderwoman Sharon Davis pushed back on the increases, explaining nearby towns don’t compare to Rutland.

 “We are not a destination town,” Davis said. “The people that are going to pay these are you and your next door neighbors.”

Davis said she supports the meter increases but not the hefty fines.

“Do I think we double, triple, quadruple them? Absolutely not,” Davis said. “I can’t support this.” 

The topic has been an ongoing discussion on the Board of Aldermen. It was previously discussed in December 2022. Members of the board said at the time the rates were too much of a jump.

Davis reminded board members of a survey sent to area businesses, which showed many business owners were not in favor of an increase. 

“These downtown merchants pay a hefty tax,” Davis said.

Alderman John McCann hoped the high rate would entice people to pay the parking meters and avoid the fines.

“Ideally nobody would pay these fines,” he said.

Meanwhile, Alderman Larry Cupoli didn’t think the increases would be effective and would only discourage people from paying their fines. 

“Doubling the fine, I think, is going to make it even more difficult for people to pay — they probably won’t,”  Cupoli said.  

Some board members said employees who work downtown take the parking spots from potential customers. They hoped the higher rates would encourage employees to use the parking deck.

Alderwoman Kiana McClure said most people who owe the city parking money are repeat offenders. 

“These repeat offenders have said themselves that it’s cheaper to get a parking ticket in downtown than it is to feed the meter for a work day,” she said. “Why play the system?”

The $1.50 meter rate was established as a maximum for the city. The Board of Aldermen created a new committee to establish parking zones and appropriate rates for each zone. 

Mayor Mike Doenges said it would take about 30 days to implement the new parking meter rates.

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