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Sarasota Monday, May 17, 2010 10 years ago

Commission to review paid parking today

by: Robin Roy City Editor

Once again, the topic of paid parking will be debated at city commission.

After directing city staff to prepare a position paper on how to further fund the ailing parking operations, commissioners will be asked to choose between two main choices — installing parking meters downtown or tapping ad valorem taxes.

The city’s parking operations is rapidly losing money. If nothing changes, its $400,000 reserve fund will be drained before October 2011.

Staff members are counting on commissioners deciding the issue today.

“I’m hoping they’ll make a decision, because it’s a budget decision” said Susan Dodd, who wrote the position paper.

The city formally begins discussions next month over next year’s budget, and preliminary indications show between $4 million and $5 million may need to be cut.

Commissioners had hoped to get some direction from three downtown groups, but their input could cloud the issue even more.

Dodd asked the Downtown Improvement District, Downtown Sarasota Alliance and the Chamber of Commerce’s Downtown Sarasota Council to choose between the two parking options.

Only the DID picked one, choosing ad valorem taxes. Both the DSA and the DSC instead advised the city to develop a firm parking policy because both believed a paid-parking solution should not be based solely on getting parking operations in the black.

Contact Robin Roy at [email protected].

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