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PLATTSBURGH — Despite lingering concerns about the impact on Downtown Plattsburgh, the Common Council has approved a paid parking fee structure.

“This is flexible and if we see ways to make it better, we can make it better,” Mayor Chris Rosenquest said Friday.

The council approved the fee structure Thursday night with a four to two vote. The plan is expected to go into effect sometime next month.

$1 PER HOUR

The plan calls for an hourly parking fee of $1 per hour; semi-annual permit for $90 (valid for six months) and an annual permit for $171 (valid for 12 months). It will be for parking in several downtown lots between 8 am and 4 pm Mondays through Fridays.

Payment kiosks will be installed to collect fees, and a downtown parking officer will monitor the situation.

Councilors Jaime Canales (Ward 1), Michael Kelly (Ward 2), Jennifer Tallon (Ward 4) and Caitlin Bopp (Ward 5) voted in favor of the plan while Elizabeth Gibbs (Ward 3) and Jeff Moore (Ward 6) voted against it.

COULD BRING IN $20K

The plan has been debated at length with the city seeking to create ways to generate revenue to help improve downtown. The newly-approved fee schedule is hoped to bring in about $20,000 per year to go towards downtown improvements, Rosenquest said.

“The goal is to make Plattsburgh better and I think this fee structure shows that,” he said.

Gibbs said she had been in favor of paid parking downtown, but that was before the council opted to undertake a major renovation project for Margaret Street. She said she has heard from several downtown business owners who are concerned about what the impact of paid parking will be.

“I still am in favor of a paid parking system, but when I hear downtown business owners putting it into their own perspective about what it is going to cost them, this is what’s giving me the heartburn,” she said.

“I support paid parking, I don’t know if I can support this fee structure.”

Moore said he also is in favor of paid parking, but also was not comfortable with the proposed fee structure.

“I’m not sure we got it right at this point,” he said.

‘TREMENDOUS STRESS’

Jennifer Boyer of Warren Tire, a downtown business, said paid parking will be a burden on her business and employees. She said her business has already paid more than $28,000 in taxes for the downtown area and more fees will be difficult to handle.

She said the new fee structure will cost Warren Tire about $5,000 per year on top of the taxes they pay.

“You are going to put a tremendous stress on not only our business, but other businesses,” she said.

Bopp said the paid parking fees are still well below rates of private parking fees in the city.

Tallon agreed, saying that the fees were cut in half from the city’s initial plans, and that weekends are free.

“I think this is a step in the right direction,” Tallon said.

DISCOUNT OFFER

Rosenquest said the city should look at ways of giving members of the downtown Special Assessment District, who have been paying for parking maintenance for decades, a discount in their payments to reflect what it will cost them for employee parking permits.

“We will continue to look at this to see that it is fair,” he said.

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