COLUMBIA, Mo 8/31/14 (Beat Byte) --
Planning to shop in downtown Columbia? Want to Discover the District
Better leave your car at home and buy no more than you can carry on foot, bike -- or donkey. Otherwise, highway robbery awaits.
That's one message in the parking fee and fine increases
Columbia city manager Mike Matthes
proposes in two ordinances before the Columbia City Council Tuesday night
The parking hikes - which range from four to 100 times the current rate of inflation
-- are part of his 2015 city budget. Using the city's monopoly pricing power over utilities, parking, and other fee-based services, Matthes has ordered dozens of customer charge increases
many are calling "Matthes' Revenge."
Since he took office in 2011, Columbia citizens have revolted against gerrymandering politically progressive portions of the First, Third, and Fourth Wards; Blighting nearly 60% of the city; tearing down historic homes on Providence Avenue; and most recently, forming a downtown TIF district. Ryan Ferguson
, former police administrator Zim Schwartze
, Boone County, and thousands of Opus petition signers are also suing the city over various issues.
Hence, the "Matthes' Revenge" label.
About the parking fee increases, "I can imagine a mythical wonderland where prosperous downtown merchants are surrounded by free parking
on the street at their front doors, but it would be an insane contemplation," wrote Columbia Daily Tribune publisher Hank Waters
Apparently. Under his "leave your car at home or don't come downtown" plan, the city manager wants to raise the cost of on-street parking
rental a staggering 85%
-- from $520.00 to $950.00 per space per year. The increase will affect organizations that rent metered space, including banks, the police department, and businesses with loading zones.
Permits to park in city-owned parking lots on Eighth and Ash Streets; Eighth and Ninth Streets; Tenth and Walnut Streets; Fifth and Cherry Streets will rise from four to eight times the 2014 U.S. inflation rate of 2%
Monthly: $60.00 to $65.00, up 8.3%
And don't forget parking fines, which will skyrocket
as much as 200%
-- 100 times the annual US rate of inflation.
Fines for parking in unmetered city-owned space
will rise from $5 to $15 (up 200%)
if paid within 15 days of the parking ticket; from $15 to $30 (up 100%)
if paid any later. Metered parking tickets paid within 15 days will jump from $10 to $15, a 50% hike
; after 15 days, the fine increases from $25 to $30, a 20% hike
The Columbia City Council last raised metered parking fines in 2011
. If Council members approve Matthes' Revenge, metered parking fines will have tripled
in just three years.