By Melanie Yingst
TROY — For some, the lack of parking space and the time allowed to park in downtown Troy is the bigger issue than the proposed increase in parking fees.
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.
Council will have the first reading for the legislation to discuss the parking and other fees increases on Monday.
An employee of a downtown business who requested to not be named said customers often complain about the lack of space and the short length of time to park, but not the meter rates.
“It isn’t so much of an issue of how much it costs to park downtown as it is to finding a place to park itself,” she said. The employee said she often hears customers complaining of the lack of parking and has had a few customers receive tickets in the past when their car was parked for more than two hours outside of the store front.
“We have a large store and people take their time here so sometimes two hours goes by pretty quickly,” she said. “That’s just part of our business though.”
Christina Baker, of Piqua, said she enjoys coming to Troy for events to visit family and friends, but parking for two hours is sometimes an issue.
“The meters aren’t a big deal, but when we come down to shop and go out to eat, two hours isn’t a whole lot of time to check everything out,” she said. “I’d be pretty upset if I came to town for the day and got a $20 ticket as I spent money at a restaurant or store while I was here.”
If approved by council on Monday, the fees will be enforced within 30 days.
There are plans in the works to reinstate the parking enforcement officer as well. A civil service test will be scheduled in the near future to fill the position. 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.
City public service and safety director Patrick Titterington said the city held off on rehiring a parking enforcement office to study whether it could be staffed at full or part time.
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.
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.
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.
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.