Increasing Parking Meter Fees Make No Sense

According to BUSINESSTALK POLITICS: October, 2017 October 29, 2017

City Administrator Carl Geffken wants to replace the old meters & increase downtown parking meter fees by 100%. The upgrades would come from the existing $350,000 city parking meter fund for the approximately $270,000 cost for upgraded meters and an automated parking deck gate, the increased rates would supposedly repay the city for their costs.

However, as it stands now the city loses about $35,000 per year on parking!

So, let’s see—the city loses $35,000 per year at the present rates—does the City Administrator actually believe the same number of people who pay parking meter fees now will stay the same or go up with a 100% rate increase?

The fact is that the present parking meters probably deter many shoppers who park free at the mall or all over town and not risk an overtime pay penalty—only logical. Comparing our town to larger, more economically robust cities is utterly ridiculous…we simply can’t afford to “keep up with the Joneses”.

Throw in the important factor that a majority of the downtown business owners prefer free parking—so what possible sense does this new plan make?

Sounds like there is no quid pro quo in free parking, but lots of possibilities in replacements with expensive, high tech superior devices that can even be controlled by your Smart Phone—what an incentive to draw customers!

But wait, the Propelling Downtown group’s expensive Gateway Consulting (there’s that “consulting”word again, as always in these expensive proposals) “warns that getting rid of paid parking makes it more difficult to bring them back again for future revenue”! Honestly, that is what the article said. More interesting “logic”.

Which begs the question—if the city already loses money why continue at all, and doesn’t this new proposal stand to lose twice as much or more—who benefits?

That question always needs to be applied, especially to government spending taxpayer’s money. The taxpayers will generally be the losers as usual and the businesses downtown could likely suffer and some may even be forced to relocate or close.

The 501c3’s & 4’s, the “Consulting” firms, and the instigators appear to always be the financial winners in their various projects/schemes—but who are “we the people” taxpayers to question the wisdom and logic of our “leaders”?—Hints: The River Valley Sports Complex fiasco, the Marshal’s Museum expenses, the Convention Center failures, decades old dysfunctional sewers/waste water (hundreds of millions flushed over the years from a 1984 dedicated 1% sales tax & hundreds of millions to go due to uncompleted EPA mandates), poor streets, and distorted graffiti (painted by “Ghetto Artists” on historic buildings) which mystify tourists who come looking for history of the old West & outrage/embarrassment for those of good taste & historical knowledge…a regal historic opportunity lost due to the “Emperor’s New Clothes”, often grotesque syndrome, in my opinion.

So the question now remains, will the City Board & Mayor cooperate in this newest scheme, just as they did in much of the aforementioned disasters? We already know where the City Administrator stands, sadly.

~Barbara McCutchen
www.arkansasfreedom.com


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