Councilors are exploring the possibility of charging on nights and weekends for parking in the city-owned parking decks.
Staff Monday presented some revenue projections if city officials opted to charge a flat $5 fee at night and on the weekends, when the decks are at capacity.
Parking in the city-owned decks is currently free after 7 p.m. and on the weekends, with the exception of special events. City data show that Thursday through Saturday, the decks are often full, with the majority of drivers coming in after 10 p.m. and leaving after last call.
It would cost the city about $385,000 to install machines to accept payments electronically, instead of hiring someone to work at the exit booth during the overnight hours. City parking staff estimated the city could generate between $900,000 and $1 million.
The parking enterprise fund has been in a deficit since its inception, but the deficit has been slowly shrinking and now sits at $500,000. The general fund provides the additional funding to cover the gap.
Charlotte, Wilmington and Asheville all charge for off-street parking for nights and weekends.
Councilor Wayne Maiorano, who made the information request, said he was generally not in favor of increasing fees. But, he said, the city could be spending more to upkeep the decks. Parking on the evenings and weekends has historically been free to stimulate growth downtown.
Councilors didn’t make any decisions and expressed mixed concern about impacts of the parking increase versus raising revenue to keep up with increasing maintenance issues and safety concerns associated with the decks. City Manager Ruffin Hall said that staff will come back later with more information.