Columbia City Council To Talk Parking Meter Money
COLUMBIA - The city council discussed findings from a report on parking revenue Monday night at its city council meeting. On Nov. 1, Mayor Bob McDavid requested the city see if it could transfer parking meter revenue to the general fund. By transferring parking meter funds, the city can pay off some its debt for its four parking garages in downtown. The council heard this report last on the city council agenda Monday night.
At the meeting, City Manager Bill Watkins and Third Ward Representative Gary Kespohl argued about how they will repay the $13 million bond for the new parking garage on the corner of Sixth and Walnut. Watkins does not want to "front load" the bond and have larger debt to pay back in the early years. Kespohl would rather see the same amount of interest consistently paid throughout the years. Paying back these bonds means an expected increase of 43 to 45 percent of parking garage fees and the possibility of parking meter increases as well. MU student and downtown traveler Moses Williams says residents in other places have it much tougher.
"It's like 30 cents an hour compared to Chicago which is about $3 an hour," Williams said. "That's ten times the same price for the same time. Columbians can afford a couple more cents out of their pockets."
The plan would mean moving $400,000 from parking meter revenue to the city's general fund.