DDA looks to boost downtown parking revenue

MARQUETTE – The Marquette Downtown Development Authority’s proposed budget for the coming year includes a handful of changes aimed at increasing parking revenues from the downtown area.

“Our parking fund – as you know, through the years, we’ve been struggling with it – does run in deficit and we need to really start looking at what (will) make that system self-funding,” DDA Executive Director Mona Lang told the Marquette City Commission during a budget discussion Tuesday.

“So we’re recommending a small increase in the rentals, and also to eliminate the part-time rental at $10 a month.”

Under the proposal, the cost of full-time parking rental permits will increase from $20 to $25 per month.

Additionally, Lang said the DDA plans to increase the city parking meter fee from 25 cents for one hour to 25 cents for 30 minutes.

The DDA will also invest $88,000 in new parking equipment, including signs and additional meters.

Lang said the DDA is considering phasing the new meters in, but hasn’t decided which sections of the district will be metered first. No specific time frame has been identified.

The new meters, according to Lang, would be up-to-date and would accept coins, in addition to taking credit card and smart phone payments.

Lang’s parking suggestions are largely based on a districtwide parking study that wrapped up early this year. The New York firm that completed the study said the supply of downtown parking was sufficient, but suggested wider utilization of parking fees to better manage parking and increase revenues.

Lang said previously that the DDA’s parking fund has run a deficit – ranging anywhere from $12,000 to $102,000 – for as long as she can recall.

“In order to bring that to a zero or a positive balance, we’re looking to start to implement some of the recommendations that came through in the parking recommendation analysis plan,” Lang told the commission Tuesday.

The DDA’s 2013 budget projects $133,000 in parking revenues, while the budget for 2014 projects $176,200.

Lang’s budget presentation to the commission came during the fourth and final days of public budget discussions. In addition to budget projections for the DDA, the Peter White Public Library and the The city commission discussed budgets for all major city departments.

The commission has scheduled a public hearing on the proposed budget for May 28, immediately prior to the group’s regular meeting.

A copy of the full city budget proposal can be found in the clerk’s office in city hall, at Peter White Public Library and online at mqtcty.org/budget.html.

Kyle Whitney can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 250. His email address is kwhitney@miningjournal.net