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Mayor Cranley introduces new Cincinnati parking plan
CINCINNATI (Jeff Hirsh) -- Costs and hours could go up in certain parts of town as Mayor John Cranley releases his own parking modernization proposal Wednesday.
But the city will also get more than 3,000 new meters which take credit cards so you don't have to have all that change in your pocket. And the mayor says in the future all the change will ultimately end up in the city's pocket, not a private business.
Mayor Cranley said, "Public assets like parking meters, the rates and level of enforcement should be controlled by the public."
Cranley and city council's new majority ran against previous Mayor Mark Mallory's parking privatization plan that included turning over the city's meters and garages to a private operator, Xerox. Cranley and the new council promptly scrapped the privatization idea. But now what?
Reporters were out Wednesday to get Cranley's new parking plan which he said would raise at least six million dollars a year through upgraded meters, more enforcement, extended meter hours, to 9 pm, in the outlying parts of downtown and also near UC. He also proposed raising neighborhood rates by a quarter, going from 50 cents an hour to 75 cents.
Charles Gee of Evanston was parking in Clifton Wednesday afternoon. Possibly having to pay another 25 cents an hour did not please him.
He tells us, "It bothers me. Because it's too high."
The mayor says the exact rates and hours could still be changed after city council takes up the plan. However, Cranley said council's majority supports the philosophy behind his proposal.
He says, "The concept of keeping control of rates and hours, the concept of not privatizing with Xerox, the concept of keeping the meter money and the ticket money in the cities hand for general fund purposes, the concept of not monetizing the asset, we have a clear majority."
Under the privatization plan some rates would have gone up, some hours would have increased, but the city would have also gotten 85 million dollars up front. So how is this non-privatization plan better?
But the mayor says taking the 85 million dollars now would sacrifice other money in the future and sacrifice local control, "I believe that the mayor ten years from now should have the ability to spend the money that's generated from the parking meters and not just pay off the debts that we create."
City council considers the proposal in a couple of weeks so the hours and prices could still be tweaked. The plan also calls for hiring ten more meter enforcement officers and turning over the Fountain Square South Garage to the Port Authority. The Port would then use revenue from that facility for economic development projects.