By Alyssa Schnugg
With the opening of the new downtown parking garage slated for September, setting prices for parking permits has taken precedence with the Downtown Parking Advisory Commission.
The commission met Friday to discuss recommendations for permit pricing from Kimley-Horn Parking Consultants and on Monday, DPAC chair Tom Sharpe presented the recommended prices to the Oxford Board of Aldermen during a scheduled budget hearing. No action was taken.
The Board of Aldermen will consider DPAC’s recommended prices at tonight’s regular board meeting at 5 p.m. at City Hall; however, the aldermen will only be voting on whether to allow DPAC to move forward with devising the ordinance that would set the prices.
Before the prices are official, the ordinance would go through the regular process which will require a first reading and a second reading with a public hearing. The Board could decide to vote after a third reading; however, they are only required to hold the two readings that include the public hearing.
There will be two types of permits available – standard and premium – and the two types will come with two options of hours – either 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday, or Monday-Saturday 10 a.m. to midnight.
The price for a Premium permit “Weekday Only” will be $80 a month. A Premium Permit “All Access” will be $100. A Standard permit, weekdays only will be $50 a month with the All Access Standard permit being $70 a month.
Premium permit holders will be able to park in any spot that is not metered, including all surface lots that will eventually be 75 cents an hour to park via a kiosk and on the first floor of the new parking garage.
Standard permit holders will be able to park in the lots behind City Hall, in the former DHS lot and the surface lots around the parking garage.
DPAC members are also recommending keeping the second through fourth floors of the parking garage free parking day and night, except during special events. A previous consideration for revenue had the commissioners considering charging 50 cents an hour for the second, third and fourth floors after 6 p.m.; however, the commission changed their recommendation Friday.
Alderman Mark Huelse noted Monday that he was pleased with that change.
“I didn’t think it was fair to allow employees who work during the day to park for free in the garage and then we charge the employees who work at night 50 cents an hour,” he said Monday.
There will be a limited number of parking permits available and the DPAC members will be focusing their work in the coming weeks on deciding how the permits will be sold, whether it will be a first-come, first-serve basis online or in person at City Hall.
Permits will be sold on a month-to-month basis for at least the first year; however, those who are able to obtain a permit will not need to reapply as long as their payment is made on time each month.