Rates For City Parking Garage Slated To Increase In May

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In order to raise revenue to make repairs to the Athens Municipal Parking Garage, Council has proposed increased parking fees for the garage beginning in May.

Legislation was introduced during Monday’s Athens City Council meeting to increase the parking fees at metered spaces as well as monthly parking spaces beginning May 1.

The proposal would increase metered parking from 50 cents per hour to 75 cents per hour. And a quarter will get a motorist 20 minutes of parking time instead of 30 minutes under the new legislation.

City Auditor Kathy Hecht predicted that the parking meter rate increase would result in an approximate $69,600 increase over last year. Last year’s meter revenue in the garage was $139,205.

According to Councilman Steve Patterson, the metered parking rates in the garage have not been increased since the 1980s.

Costs for monthly parking are also expected to increase. The cost for reserved monthly parking would rise from $85 to $125 per month. There are 77 reserved spaces in the garage. Hecht estimates that revenue from monthly reserved spaces would increase by $23,400. Last year’s monthly reserved revenue was $73,126.

Cost for the 50 non-reserved monthly spaces are currently $45. It is proposed to increase that cost to $75 per month. The revenue from non-reserved monthly spaces would increase from $25,304 to $45,000 if all non-reserved passes are sold each month, according to Hecht.

Overall, Hecht estimates that the proposed parking rate increases would increase the parking garage’s annual revenue by about $113,000. The revenue for the garage last year — including revenue from communication tower leases — was $279,000.

The main reason for the proposed increases is to raise money to complete improvements to the parking garage this year.

Last month, representatives from the design firm Burgess & Niple approached the city about making improvements to the garage to the tune of $2 million. Repairs that were recommended for the garage this year include repairing damaged concrete, repairing the protective deck coating, improving the top floor elevator lobby, replacing the antiquated elevator systems, repairing stormwater drainage on Washington Street, painting all metal items and waterproofing the brick masonry.

There have been some concerns about concrete falling from the structure in recent months. The garage was constructed in 1970 and has had major repairs every 10-15 years.

It is expected that construction on the improvements will begin in May if funding is approved by Council.

On Monday, Service-Safety Director Paula Horan Moseley said that the city is also looking at the possibility of increasing the metered parking rate for street parking in the city. However, revenue from street parking cannot be used to fund the parking garage.