(10th in a series of posts on parking)
On September 20, 2018, the Bethlehem Parking Authority held an open meeting for the public on one final report recommendation of the Desman Design study of parking in our two downtowns. About 25 people attended.
This meeting focused on the BPA proposal to raise on-street parking meter rates in Bethlehem’s two downtowns from $1/hr to $1.50/hr.
Mayor Donchez is charged by City ordinance to act on the proposal, and he was present at the meeting in a listening posture.
Tim Tracy of Desman presented the proposal, and the Gadfly’s collection of bullet points from Tim’s presentation can be found in post 7 of this series. Gadfly hopes that Tim’s PowerPoint will soon be on the BPA web site. Currently on the BPA web site (under “Recent News,” lower left) is the draft report dated 2/6/18 and presented to an open meeting for the public on 4/12/18. The final Desman report, accepted by the BPA board at their May meeting, is not yet available.
After Tim’s presentation about a dozen members of the public spoke.
***Our first priority is to understand the rationale for the BPA proposal.***
So, see Gadfly’s post 7 for some key bullet points from Tim’s presentation.
Most importantly, however, here on video is Tim’s entire presentation for you to see (two videos, approx. 25 mins altogether, stop at min. 9 of the second video).
video 2 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2vcuoWDySGY (stop at min. 9)
Here below Gadfly presents some key quotes from Tim’s opening portion of the meeting, but Gadfly encourages you to watch his presentation in its entirety.
And to think about it. And to make comments below.
The Gadfly will later provide video of those who spoke at the meeting, but first let’s understand and respond to the BPA proposal to the mayor on its own terms.
Was the case for the rate increase “made”? What did you like and not like? What questions do you have?
If we get a lot of comments, Gadfly will summarize them.
Video credit: Owen Gallagher
Quoting from Desman’s presentation by Tim Tracy (remember to see a full list of bullets from the presentation in post 7):
“The Parking Authority was established to operate the public parking for the city of Bethlehem. It administers, supervises, and enforces both the on-street and off-street public parking facilities within the city limits.”
“Parking is an extension of the city’s infrastructure. . . . [The BPA] “has a responsibility to be fiduciarily responsible. . . .[its] primary revenue resource is user fees.”
“Over the last several years, the authority has made significant strides to begin to address some deferred maintenance that has occurred over the last 20 years, but over the next 10 years the capital repairs are budgeted at $6 million.”
“Additional added expanded infrastructure [is needed] to meet parking required both in Northside and Southside . . . to promote economic growth, support small businesses, support the arts and entertainment community that you have established and grown here in Bethlehem.”
“The byproduct of the increase should not be solely considered as revenue based. Certainly increased revenue is an expectation and has been part of the forecast which really should be a tool to encourage turnover, continue to move long-term parking off-street, with that it should actually create more availability for on-street parking . . . ample capacity, as we speak, off-street at what might be considered a discount rate 1$ v. $1.50, therefore the expectation should be that there would be more on-street parking.”
“Additional revenues would be generated by the users fees to continue to allow the authority to operate and maintain its capital and debt service obligations. . . . Should additional revenues be realized, those revenues get fed back into the system. They’re not siphoned off, not taken out, not put in some hope chest. It allows the Authority to continue to operate, it allows the Authority to institute a much needed if not critical capital repair program. So all of these revenues will really be put back into the system.”
Video credit: Owen Gallagher