Parking Authority Seeks Ways To Help City

Responsible For $1.3 Million Contribution To Reading's Budget
Reading City Council has already put the brakes on two plans proposed by the Reading Parking Authority to raise nearly a million dollars in revenue.

Wednesday, the Reading Parking Authority Board of Directors approved Plan B.

Under the Act 47 recovery plan, the parking authority's responsible for a $1.3 million contribution to Reading's budget.

More than $400,000 of that is covered in an annual lease for parking meters. The rest will likely come from leveraging parking garages.

The initiatives on the table Wednesday didn't require approval from city council or the administration.

Larry Lee didn't say how exactly those initiatives would change parking in the city or when they would go into effect.

"The parking authority's committed to try and help the city in its debt crisis, but we're not going to do it to the point where its detrimental to the customer," said Larry Lee, executive director of the Reading Parking Authority.

Earlier this month, City Council rejected a proposal from Lee and the parking authority board to raise rates and extend paid hours for parking.

Tuesday, Lee went back to his board with other options. He suggested eliminating discount parking programs and offering more uniform rates in parking garages around Reading.

"So, if you come in [to the garage] at 5:00, you don't just pay $2.00 to park until you leave," Lee explained. "You would pay the same rate that a person during the day pays up to a maximum of $11.00."

Lee also wants to tighten up the collection of fines. He's proposing adding another magistrate to cut down on the backlog of parking cases. And he's seeking a system to help track tickets across state lines.

"In the neighborhood of $70,000 to $80,000 we lose on out-of-state plates," said Lee.

Lee said garages could also see more automated pay systems.

"And consequently reduce one of your more expensive costs and that being personnel," he said.

Mayor Tom McMahon has proposed the authority take on more services, but Lee said he won't without funding.

"We're interested in anything that is going to save us money in the city," McMahon said. "And we're open to ideas and suggestions from every corner."
Reading Parking Authority
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