The Chamber of Commerce disagreed, claiming credit card capability was a convenience that visitors appreciated, but rate hikes are a different matter.
“Although it can easily be argued that the Broadway lot is prime beach access parking, and should command the greatest rates, the City Council should remember that this and other lots had a rate increase of 33% less than six months ago,” Barry said. “This new $3 rate will amount to a doubling of parking rates for this lot from the June ’07 rate.
“Will people pay? Of course, they will, but the question they will ask themselves is, ‘Am I being exploited by the city?’ As a City Council, please ask yourself if this is a fair way to raise money.”
Arnold Hano also opposed the rate increase.
“I find myself in agreement with the chamber for perhaps the first time in my 52 years in Laguna,” Hano said.
City Manager Ken Frank pointed out drivers use city lots which currently cost $2 an hour even though street meters cost half that and the credit card capability is a draw.
“Since the last increase of 33% for the lots, the revenue during the summer also increased an average of 33%,” Frank said. “The Broadway lot with the credit card machine saw a revenue increase of 45% during the summer months.”
Converting the other 12 ticket machines in city-owned lots will cost $86,000, which will be more than covered by the revenue from the Broadway lot, expected to increase by at least $20,000 for the rest of this fiscal year and $70,000 next fiscal year, according to Frank.
“Why not $4?” asked Parking, Traffic and Circulation Committee member Dennis Myers. “The objective is to simply receive compensation for accessible parking. If [the city] is not charging enough, spaces will be filled all of the time. A higher rate would open spaces.”