Raleigh faces a projected $1.4 million budget shortfall in its parking fund, but the city won't plug the hole by charging people to park downtown on nights and weekends.
A City Council committee squelched that idea, which had been floated by City Manager Russell Allen as one possible option for raising money.
Visitors are able to park for free in city-owned parking decks when they come downtown on the weekends for visits to museums, historic sites and parks. And young people can park on the street for after-work trips to bars and restaurants.
Let's not mess with that, City Council members decided. But the City Council did agree to other steps. For those of you with outstanding parking tickets, take note:
The City Council by a 7-to-0 vote accepted recommendations to:
· Remove a stipulation in the City’s booting ordinance which states that a vehicle must be found illegally parked before it can be booted for outstanding parking tickets or fines (Translation: the city has more latitude to put a boot on your car);
· Initiate a tax refund intercept to collect delinquent parking tickets or fines of $50 or more from state income tax refunds (Translation: the city can hit your tax bill to collect ticket charges);
· Seek authority to obtain state Department of Motor Vehicle holds on vehicle registration renewals involving owners who have unpaid parking tickets or fines (Translation: you can't renew your registration until you pay your ticket(s).
The Budget and Economic Development Committee is studying other proposals to address the projected revenue shortfall in the parking fund. City officials say the main causes of the shortfall are a weak economy, the loss of off-street parking contracts, lower than anticipated transient on-street parking revenue and an increase in the debt service.
In an interview this week, Allen said more downtown employees are searching for free parking just outside downtown and then finding ways to get to their offices, whether it's buses, carpools or walking.