Raising parking meter fees, new utility tax up for City Council vote today

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By Catherine Holland By Catherine Holland

PHOENIX -- The Phoenix City Council is slated to vote on raising downtown parking fees and implementing a new utility fee Wednesday.

The idea of raising fees and extending enforcement times for metered parking in downtown Phoenix has been on the table for more than two months. It's part of a plan to raise money to fill the city's $38 million budget gap. Planned meter changes would raise between $1 million and $2 million per year.

Right now the fee is $1.50 per hour at all of the parking meters during the day and free during the evening and on weekends. If the City Council approves the change, rates will move to a sliding scale of 50 cents to $4 per hour based on demand, particularly during events at U.S. Airways and Chase Field, and meter location.

"The City of Phoenix may be extending parking meter hours after 5 p.m. in the evenings and on weekends to encourage parking turnover at valuable on-street parking spaces near restaurants, retail businesses and other establishments," according the ParkPHX fact sheet. "Parking meters have worked effectively during weekday business hours, providing access for visitors and creating turnover for businesses. However, after 5 p.m. weekdays and on weekends, the most visible and convenient spaces are occupied by longer-term parking which slows user turnover to a crawl."

The new parking enforcement hours would be 8 a.m.-10 p.m. every day, including holidays.

Also on the table is a new utility-bill tax based on water meter size rather than on water usage. The utility tax would add about $1.50 residents' monthly bills. For commercial customers and those with large meters, the new tax would increase monthly bills by up to $75. in rec fees from $10 to $20 per year

In addition, the Council is looking at doubling the prices of senior-center passes and recreation passes for adults, making them $20 per year for residents and $40 for non residents.

The Phoenix City Council meets at 3 p.m.