By Jaimie Julia Winters
Residents not happy with a rise in parking fees at the Fullerton Parking Deck could see some relief. At least temporarily.
Beginning this Thursday, Feb. 7, the rates return to 75 cents an hour for the next 60 days after the council voted through an emergency resolution Tuesday night.
When rates went from 75 cents to $2 an hour in January, YMCA members who park at the Fullerton Deck complained to the town. With those new rates, YMCA member Jennifer Prost estimated it would cost her family $1,000 a year to park while utilizing the Y.
On Feb. 5, the Township Council was expected to discuss an ordinance that would change rates from $2 an hour to $2 for two hours. But that was not good enough for the handful of Y members who attended the meeting
Catherine Danatostold, a YMCA member of 40 years, told the council that more than doubling parking fees and doubling the fines to $60 for those meters was “unsustainable to the people who could least afford it.” She asked that fees return to 75 cents, or that the first hour be free for all users.
At a January council meeting in response to negative feedback from residents, the council discussed waiving fees for the first hour for YMCA members, but council members agreed that special concessions should not be given to one group or even one parking facility. However, Mayor Robert Jackson said he didn’t have a problem with the town setting different rates at different garages.
The council also had also planned on raising Bay Street Parking permits to $80 per month in April, up from $60, increasing again in January to $100. That too was tabled on Feb. 5.
Councilwoman Renée Baskerville has asked that the Economic Development Committee review the ordinance and data on lot usage at both the Bay and Fullerton decks.
“A temporary reduction in parking fees can give us more time to address the issue and provide some relief,” said Mayor Robert Jackson.
Kelly Nicholaides contributed to this article.