Johnson withdraws proposal to increase some parking fees

Annapolis council to vote Tuesday on 2001 fee plan

June 02, 2000|By Amy Oakes | Amy Oakes,SUN STAFF

Annapolitans already frustrated with the lack of enough on-street parking can breathe a sigh of relief now that the mayor has withdrawn his proposal to increase residential parking fees in some neighborhoods this year.

At a packed public hearing Wednesday evening, Mayor Dean L. Johnson said the proposed increases - some of which would have doubled current fees - will not be part of the fiscal 2001 fee schedule. The fee plan is scheduled to be voted on at the council meeting Tuesday, though some aldermen say it could be delayed until the council receives more detailed explanations of the other proposed increases.

"I think part of the problem was that the justifications for the increases weren't announced ahead of time," said Ed Thost, a member of the Ward One Residents Association. "The city did a poor job of selling it."

The fee schedule was introduced in April, but a report listing the reasons for increases wasn't made public until May 26.

The mayor could not be reached for comment yesterday.

Johnson had proposed increasing parking permit fees for residents with no off-street parking in Districts 1 and 2 from $30 to $60 a year. The cost of a permit for parking for those with off-street parking would have increased from $50 to $75.

In Districts 3 and 4, the mayor proposed doubling the rate to $40 for an annual parking permit. And, temporary permits would have increased from $2 to $5 for all districts.

The increases could cause quicker turnover of parking spaces, improve the administrative process and support an effort to promote use of stadium parking and shuttle service, the report said.

But, more than 20 residents, mostly from Ward 1, spoke at the hearing about a lack of enforcement on their streets and how difficult it can be to find a space, especially in the summer, according to Ward 1 Alderman Louise Hammond.

"People were very strong in their testimony," Hammond said.

Another substantial increase under the proposed fee plan calls for a jump from $25 to $500 for a towing license. Renewal fees would increase from $15 to $250.

Alderman Sheila M. Tolliver, a Ward 2 Democrat, said the council still needs more information on the proposed increases before voting. The fee schedule must be passed by June 30.

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