Killing the goose
by Jody Reese
Itís true there are
those who will call me a one-trick pony, but I feel so strongly that
city government meddling in downtown parking will be disastrous that I
must get back on the pony and ride it until the issue is dead.
finance department paid $120,000 for a group of consultants from East
Lansing, Mich., to suggest that Manchester hire more consultants, and
thatís just how the consultantsí recommendation begins.
have argued that tax cuts are bad for Manchester and that city
government does a pretty good job of spending our money. On the whole,
we get a pretty decent city government for the money. Of course, we can
and must do better with what we already spend, especially in regard to
the schools, crime, parking and snow removal.
However, this parking study makes this city government look greedy and
uncaring toward its residents and everyone who works hard every day to
earn a living downtown. If the city were to pass these recommendations,
Manchester just might dry up and blow away.
starters, the study suggests that parking become part of the finance
department, making the primary aim of parking control making money for
the city. To make sure that enough money is collected, a parking manager
would be hired; however, to afford that manager the consultants suggest
raising vehicle registration fees. In addition to hiring more parking
staff, rates would be raised from $.25 per half hour to $.60, and meter
hours would be changed from the current Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to
8 p.m., to seven days a week, with meters going from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m.
Monday through Saturday and 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Sunday. Of course that
means parishioners at St. Josephís Cathedral, Grace Episcopal and First
Congregational would have to plug the meters on Sunday. The consultants
would also raise monthly parking rates from $65-$75 per month to $100.
Early in the report Lansing Melbourne Group, the consulting group, set
out the goal of its plan as economic development, but the plan couldnít
be further away from that target. Extending the meter times will
discourage people from coming downtown. They will choose to visit chain
restaurants on South Willow Street or stay home.
it is, many of the downtown businesses are just hanging on. They are not
chains with vast amounts of money, but small business with little money
to make up for the tough times. The goal of any parking plan should be
to help these businesses, not gouge their customers.
aldermen need to stand firm against this plan and ask Lansing Melbourne
Group for a refund.