By Melanie Yingst
TROY — City council’s street and sidewalks committee agreed to move forward with legislation to adjust many city fees including doubling its parking fines, increasing meter rates, increasing its cemetery fees by 10 percent and increasing its board of zoning appeals (BZA) fees.
The committee met Thursday to discuss the proposal to adjust the fees which will be part of council’s agenda on Aug. 4. The committee including chairman Bobby Phillips, Lynne Snee and Brock Heath approved the recommendation to move forward to council with no emergency designation. If approved by council, the fees will be enforced within 30 days.
The increase in parking fees as well as reinstating the parking enforcement officer was discussed. City engineer Deb Swan said the city has been researching the use of parking kiosks for the city’s four of its five lots instead of parking meters. Swan said the city’s meters are aging and it is increasingly difficult to maintain its 98 meters around downtown. The proposal calls for meter rates to increase from 10 cents an hour up to 25 cents at a maximum of $2 for the 10 hour meters.
City service and safety director Patrick Titterington said the city is in the process of getting the civil service test for the parking patrol officer in place. The parking patrol officer has not been filled for more than a year and police officers have been attending to complaints as they are called in.
“We held off in the process to hire someone new because I wanted staff to evaluate whether hiring another full time or maybe part-time staffing would be more cost effective,” Titterington said. “They found with the police chief’s help that we would save money, however we would lose a lot in the process that we have to go through with the courts so there was no real savings there. At the same time, knowing that the meters are very old, knowing that there continues to be concerns from the downtown merchants and (Troy Main Street) organization about the need to make sure there’s turnover in the spots so there’s ample parking for customers downtown.”
Parking fines could increase from $10 up to $20 if not paid within 72 hours. If not paid within 72 hours, the fine increases to $50 up from its current $25 fine.
Titterington also addressed the parking issues downtown as well as the public square’s access with two lanes flowing in to the square.
Swan also reviewed the city’s plan to install parking kiosks in its lots. Depending on the type of kiosk the city purchases, the kiosk would take coins or a preloaded “Smartcard” for frequent downtown businesses. Kiosk range from $6,500 to $7,800. The proposal calls to purchase one kiosk to try out the new system in the S. Cherry Street lot.
“We’ll test the kiosk at Cherry Street to see if its worthwhile for other lots,” Titterington said.
Titterington also commented on the oversized vehicles blocking the travel lanes at times as well as the flow of traffic in and around the public square.
“The other thing we want to look at that we have so many oversized vehicles that stick out in the travel lane. We do need to change some language to be able to enforce that. Part of the issues that is a concern and also long term viability is whether or not we should continue to have two lanes in each direction of all quadrants going in to the square or if we should look at some other configuration and the costs of that and the pros and cons of that.”
The handicap parking fine will also increase from its current $50 fine up to $100 under the recommendation.
The two-hour parking violation will also undergo a language clarification to eliminate confusion when one leaves and then returns and parks in the same spot.
CEMETERY COSTS TO INCREASE 10 PERCENT
The city proposed to increase its cemetery fees by approximately 10 percent. Most cemetery fees increased its services by $5 up to $250. According to city officials, the increase is in line with other municipal cemeteries. For example, a family grave section, opening and closing of adult grave would increase from $600 to $660; land in section 14 for 576 square feet and above will increase from $16 sq. ft. to $18 per sq. ft; land in section 14 for 64 sq. ft up to 576 sq. ft will increase from $19 per sq. ft to $21 sq. ft.; opening and closing of adult vault with no tent will be $565; child grave from $300 increased to $330; infant grave from $150 to $165; Saturday service 2 p.m. or later from $350 to $385; interred cremated remains in ground from $250 to $275; single cremorial from $600 to $660; double cremorial from $1,000 to $1,100; columbarium fees up $50; disinterment of an adult increased from $2,500 to $2,750; and the installation of a military marker with plaque base increased from $70 to $80.
The recommendation includes BZA’s variance and administrator decision fees to increase from $150 to $200. City officials state the costs reflect the newspaper advertising fee when a BZA is filed as well as notifying area residents of an appeal.
The city also will establish a new pretreatment fee. The new Oil and Grease surcharge will be 25 cents per pound. The fee was approved by the Ohio EPA.