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Plattsburgh City Councilors consider proposal to establish parking fees

Warren Tire Manager Jennifer Boyer (far right) speaks to Plattsburgh Common Council regarding parking fee proposal
Pat Bradley
Warren Tire Manager Jennifer Boyer (far right) speaks to Plattsburgh Common Council regarding parking fee proposal

The Plattsburgh Common Council has approved a resolution to implement parking fees in the downtown.

City leaders have been working for several years to create the paid parking system. Currently there are no parking fees.

Thursday evening, councilors considered a resolution to establish a $1 per hour parking fee; $90 semi-annual and a $171 annual permit. Hourly parking fees would be enforced Monday through Friday between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. with exceptions that include holidays and snow emergencies.

Warren Tire has been located downtown for 35 years. Manager Jennifer Boyer spoke to the council in May about the challenges paid parking would mean to their employees. She again spoke during public comment questioning the fairness of taxing business for parking through a Special Assessment District and again through the new parking permit fees.

“We’ve paid close to $28,000 in parking taxes since we’ve been there. We pay our taxes every year for the parking and we also are going to have to pay on top of the tax that we already pay for 25 to 30 people. Which is going to cost us approximately $5,000 a year. And I wish that you guys would reconsider and do this a different way that would benefit the employers and the employees that work in the downtown area.”

Ward 3 Democrat Elizabeth Gibbs says she is getting a number of emails and calls and her support over the current proposal was wavering.

“When I hear downtown business owners putting it into their own perspective about what it’s going to cost them this is what’s giving me the heartburn. And I ... I support paid parking. I don’t know if I can support this fee structure.”

Ward 6 Democrat Jeff Moore said he’s getting similar feedback from constituents and is also concerned about the proposed fees.

“I’m not sure that we’ve got it right at this point. Like Councilor Gibbs was for parking right from the get-go but I’m getting a lot of opinions from people in the city and I’m not sure I’m entirely behind this. I think there’s still some work to be done on that. I realize time is running out but I have misgivings on this.”

Ward 4 Democrat Jennifer Tallon supports the plan and noted there are strategies to park for free even with the new system.

“The fees have been pretty much cut in half, so that is different from what was proposed before and that’s definitely a step in the right direction. And there are ways you know if people park at 2:00 then they’re pretty much set. They won’t have to pay. And Saturdays and Sundays are free. Holidays are free. So there are ways to figure out how to park in downtown Plattsburgh.”

Ward 5 Democrat Caitlin Bopp said what the city is proposing is less expensive than private parking and would provide important revenues for downtown improvements.

“Eventually if there is ever any profit or excess it will go back into downtown. And one of the things I’ve heard as long as I’ve lived here is that people want things to look better downtown. We need to create revenue. There has to be revenue in order to do that. And as much as businesses might be concerned about this parking, a decrepit downtown should also be a major concern. So somewhere in the middle we have to find a balance and I do think that we’re working towards that with this proposal.”

Mayor Chris Rosenquest, also a Democrat, said the system is intended to be flexible and respond to concerns.

“The whole point of this is generating enough money to eliminate the Special Assessment District fee as well as investing any overages or profits back into downtown. We should even look at the amount that Special Assessment District fee payers are paying to purchase their permits and then reduce their Special Assessment District fee by that amount.”

City Councilors approved the resolution on a 4 to 2 vote. They also unanimously adopted without discussion a revised five-year fiscal plan for the city.

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