My topic this week is the downtown parking study.
The commissioners have agreed to bring legislation to the table regarding a downtown parking study. The total cost of this study will be $38,500 with $20,000 coming from one of the local foundations and $18,500 coming from the Battery Park TIF, which is an excessive amount to study a small area of town.
Does the city need a study to tell us what we already know, that downtown is growing and it is in need of more parking spaces? With the Rieger being remodeled and the possibility of City Hall moving downtown, both projects will place a strain on the parking spaces. Will the study show we need meters for revenue, maybe there is a need to add a couple more floors to the county parking garage, or even an additional parking garage? The city placed meters downtown once before and it caused a loss of business. We even moved City Hall downtown and decided to move it back out of town because of the parking situation. When will the city learn from its past mistakes and stop repeating them?
What happens when the study is completed? Will the city waste even more money because the city cannot afford to take action on the recommendations leaving the city with $18,500 of wasted money? The city has a broken phone system that can’t be repaired anymore and we are wasting money on a study. Where are the responsibilities and priorities for meeting our most critical obligations when it comes to accountability of our tax dollars?
The Mainstreet Association meets regularly with the City Manager to lobby for their downtown projects. A more even distribution of projects is needed so it doesn’t all flow into the downtown district. Sometimes the city has to just say no to the group’s demands and allow the rest of the city to catch up on projects needed elsewhere.
It seems when the Battery Park TIF ($53,00 balance) starts to accumulate any kind of funds, the commissioners feel a need to burn through the money. Ms. Ard has a list of priorities and a parking study was not one of them. The commissioners need to stay focused and not wander from the critical priorities set forth for the year.
Until next week, lets hope the commissioners rethink their vote enough to be more responsible with our tax dollars.