By Katy Savage
The Board of Aldermen is considering sharp increases in parking meter rates and fines, with meter rates jumping from 25 cents an hour at some meters, to $1.50 an hour.
Members of the Aldermen parking committee proposed doubling fines for expired meters to $30-$45 and suggested implementing a ticket forgiveness program in which violators could spend their fine at a downtown shop.
Aldermen Michael Talbott, who is vice chair of the parking committee, said the increases would entice more people to use the parking garage.
“We haven’t tried metered parking as a way to drive people into the parking garage, so I think it’s important that we try,” he said at the Aldermen meeting Dec. 5.
Some members of the board had concerns about the prices.
“I don’t have a problem with adjusting rates, I have a problem with these rates,” Alderwoman Sharon Davis said. “They are way too high for the city.”
Alderman Tom DePoy doubted the higher rates would incentivize people to use the garage.
“It’s not in the culture of people who shop downtown to use the parking deck,” he said. “I don’t see we have the stomach to raise the rates to this extent.”
Talbott pushed back at DePoy’s comments and said the parking committee reviewed rates at other municipalities and found Rutland city’s rates were below average.
“The data tells us parking should be the second biggest source of revenue behind tax for a municipality and it’s not for us. We lose money on the parking fund each year,” Talbott said. “We need to make big changes in order to address that.”
Mayor David Allaire asked the Aldermen to table the discussion.
“I have some greater concerns about how much those rates are going up all at one time,” he said.”I think it could be detrimental. We’re trying to entice people to come to downtown.”
The board sent the proposals back to the parking committee for review.