Downtown parking permit fee resurfaces

Even though Mayor Cary Bozeman had given up on a budget-balancing proposal that sent hundreds of angry calls and e-mails to City Hall two weeks ago, Bremerton’s city council reinstated his monthly residential parking fee Wednesday.

It is all part of the plan to balance a $1 million 2003 budget deficit which went through its first public hearing at the weekly City Council meeting.

Instead of a $2 fee like the mayor earlier proposed, the fee would be $1 per month in areas of the city where residents feud with commuters over sidewalk spots.

Currently, any resident living in specific places of town with two-hour parking zones can go to City Hall and receive a free parking pass to park their vehicle all day and night outside their house.

“There’s a misunderstanding that it’s for anyone living in Bremerton,” Bozeman said.

He pointed out that it is only in two hour zones around the city, in places of high traffic volume such as outside the Puget Sound Naval Shipyard or Olympic College.

The free pass was a solution passed in 1990 to help solve the lack of parking available for downtown area residents. Previously, the parking pass was $12.50 per car per year.

The new proposed $12 a year fee will help recover the price that the city allocates to have a parking officer monitor the two-hour spots, making sure commuters are not parking over the time limit.

The fee will affect over 1,700 permit holders.

The $1 per month fee should bring in at least $25,000 a year to the city, and will offset the $200,000 the city needed to fill a police officer vacancy and two paramedic vacancies.

Additionally, the city council confirmed a daily parking rate increase of 50 cents per day in city owned parking lots, which will wrangle in about $38,000 more per year.

The city council will hold a public hearing on the budget proposals at the Dec. 4 and 11 city council meetings.

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