RED BANK PASSES PARKING-FEE HIKES

broad-metersCome April, on-street parking will cost twice as much downtown. (Photo by Dustin Racioppi)

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

Red Bank officials formally put a higher premium on downtown parking Monday night, passing an ordinance that will double on-street parking fees and raise the cost of parking permits by 33 percent.

The changes, boosting street meter rates to $1 an hour and permit costs to $800 a year, will take effect April 1. At a projected $203,000 increase in revenue for the borough, the meter and permit hike is expected to more than make up for a painful shortfall of about $10,000 a month resulting from the borough’s indefinite moratorium on charging for Saturday parking.

Despite its potentially fractious nature, the council faced virtually no pushback from the public.

Tom Fishkin, owner of Readie’s Fine Foods, made no argument against doubling the meter rates, saying thathe hopes it will deter downtown employees from curbside parking park and open up more spots for shoppers.

“The revenue stream brought about with this change, I know, is necessary,” he said.

But Fishkin suggested that the borough hold off on raising the permit rates so people have time to adjust to the new street fees.

Borough Administrator Stanley Sickels checked that suggestion by pointing out that permit rates haven’t changed since 2003 and if people park in the lots and pay the current rates each day, at eight hours a day, they’ll spend more than $1,000 a year to park. The cost is going up from $600 a year to $800, Sickels said.

“It’s still a bargain because we have a budget problem,” he said. “We have to adjust the fees and it just makes sense.”

Nine streets will see the rate increase, which will also raise the short-term parking rate. Instead of it costing 10 cents for 10 minutes, it will cost 25 cents for 15 minutes. All other street rates will remain at 50 cents for an hour.

The permit fees will change as follows, according to the ordinance:

30 day permit: from $100 to $135

3-month permit: from $150 to $200

6-month permit: from $300 to $400