No such thing as a free park, council says in response to early-bird call

Neil Jorgensen.
Neil Jorgensen.
A review into the possibility of introducing early-bird free parking in Oamaru's central business district (CBD) has found that either motorists or local businesses would have to cover more than $9500 in lost revenue for one hour of free parking.

A report to the Waitaki District Council assets committee said it was assessed that just over $9500 plus GST was collected from parking meters in the CBD from between 9am and 10am, and the report recommended the council assets committee retained the existing arrangements when it meets to consider options tomorrow.

Council assets group manager Neil Jorgensen said a review of income from parking meters for the period July 2013, to December 2013, indicated that although the $109,000 received in parking fees over that period was $3000 more than budgeted for, the hour between 9am an 10am accounted for just 4.5% of income.

However, because parking meter revenue subsidised $51,000 of the business rate collected in the 2013-14 budget, businesses would have to pay a sightly higher contribution.

''This means that the overall rates bill will increase by $9500 plus GST per annum to maintain a balanced budget in the parking area.''

Alternatively, parking fees could be increased to cover the shortfall.

The report suggested that off-street parking would have to rise from 80c to 90c an hour, and on-street from $1 to $1.20 an hour, to cover the shortfall.

The business rate reserve could also be used to offset the costs, but the reserve had about $60,000 left in it, and there was a risk it could be further depleted if income was less than expected.

The CBD metered parking hour envelope was increased from 10am to 9am in March 2012.

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