Downtown parking rates increase under a proposal going to the Joliet City Council for a vote Tuesday.
The higher rates are designed to turn around a $300,000 deficit in the city’s parking fund and create a revenue stream to pay for modernization and repairs, interim City Manager Steve Jones told the council at its workshop meeting Monday.
“For us to maintain not really a 21st-century parking system but a 20th-century parking system, we need to start spending some money,” Jones said.
The following increases are being proposed:
• Street parking meter rates in Zone A would increase from the current hourly rate of $1 to $1.50;
• Street parking meter rates in Zone B would rise from the current hourly rate of 50 cents to 75 cents;
• Parking deck hourly rates would go from the current 50 cents to $1, and monthly passes would increase from the current $40 to $60;
• Riverwall Parking Lot monthly passes would increase from the current rate of $15 to $20;
• Commuter parking lot daily rates would increase from the current $1 to $1.50;
• Mayor Art Schultz Parking Lot daily rates would increase from the current $4 to $5.
The proposal got a mixed response from the City Council.
Mayor Bob O’Dekirk and Councilwoman Jan Quillman questioned whether the city should move ahead with the rate hikes now.
O’Dekirk said the proposal “flies in the face” of economic development efforts downtown.
“If we’re running a deficit, it may not be the end of the world if we’re helping downtown business or bringing other businesses in,” O’Dekirk.
Councilman Larry Hug, however, said the city’s parking system should pay for itself, and the parking decks need maintenance.
“The only other option would be let them continue to deteriorate at the current rate, or even quicker, which would be dangerous, or to privatize them,” Hug said, adding that privatization would likely lead to even higher rates.
Jones said the city plans a $3 million bond issue to fund parking maintenance and upgrades.