METER RATE TO DOUBLE AT CURB, NOT IN LOTS

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Following through on complaints about downtown employees hogging primo parking spaces all day, Red Bank officials last night moved to double the hourly fee for metered parking on the street.

The measure, which also increases annual charges for permits used by business owners but leaves the rate for metered parking in municipal lots unchanged, is also intended to replenish coffers hit hard when the town started giving away Saturday parking a year ago, they acknowledge.

“The other reason, frankly, is that because of the elimination of Saturdays, we do have a substantial shortfall,” said Mayor Pasquale Menna.

The proposal, introduced as an amendment to borough law by the town council, marks an official abandonment of an earlier plan to extend weekday hours of meter enforcement by two hours, to 8p. It also leaves free Saturday parking intact, Menna said.

Street-meter rates would double, to $1 per hour, while metered parking in municipal lots would remain at 50 cents per hour.

Full-year permits to park in those lots would cost $800, up from the present $600.

Borough Administrator Stanley Sickels said that even with the 33-percent increase, the new permit fee is still at a significant discount from the $1,040 one would pay to park in a lot all day, five days a week.

Since the start of free-parking Saturdays, parking authority revenue has been down an average $10,000 per month, Sickels said.

Revenue projections based on the $1-per-hour street meter rates have been completed but were unavailable last night because of the absence of borough CFO Frank Mason due to illness, Menna said.