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Sarasota Monday, Jul. 6, 2009 8 years ago

Effort to delay paid parking fails

by: Robin Roy City Editor

During an update on the city’s plan to reintroduce parking meters downtown, Commissioner Terry Turner said he thought it was a bad time to implement what he saw as a tax on merchants and their customers.

It’s an extraordinarily risky economic environment,” said Turner. “I’d like to defer it for at least a year and perhaps until after the Palm Avenue garage (is complete).”

Turner made a motion to delay implementation, but no one seconded the motion.

Mayor Dick Clapp and Vice Mayor Kelly Kirschner said they’d like to wait to make a decision until this month’s budget hearings.

Commissioners Fredd Atkins and Suzanne Atwell expressed their full support for parking meters.

“I don’t want to wait a year,” said Atwell. “I think it’s time.”

The city is planning to meter about 700 spaces along Main Street and adjacent roads as early as this fall. The price would be $1 per hour, and the meters would accept credit cards.

So far, merchants have generally been opposed to the plan, but the city is exploring the possibility of revenue sharing, which would give a portion of the meter collection back to the merchants to make improvements downtown.

Some business groups, such as the Downtown Partnership, believe revenue sharing could bring a shift in merchant support.

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