City Council to Vote on Possible Meter Rate Increase

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COLUMBIA- A City Council vote Monday could mean you'll have to shell out a few extra coins for downtown meters. It's a vote the district hopes will be tabled come Monday night. 

Carrie Gartner, District Director, said she would like to see the council delay the vote for around three months.

"What we would really like to do is spend those three months talking with city staff, looking at all the available options for raising the required amount of money, talking to people downtown and really getting a well educated conclusion about what we need to do about rates," said Gartner.

Gartner said the push to increase the meter rates has been rushed and downtown business owners have not had enough time discuss how they feel about the hike.

Jason Thornhill, Columbia City Councilman, said the increase in meter fees is necessary in order to help pay for a new downtown parking garage near the Columbia Regency Hotel. He added that there hasn't been a meter increase in nearly 10 years.

But Elise Kratz, an employee from the Butterfly Tatoo, said paying more at the meter could mean less business for them. She said the economy is hurting and so are businesses.

"I think parking's fine as it is," said Kratz, "I mean, with the parking ticket increase, that should help fund parking meters and the parking increase is about enough."

Increasing the rate from 30 cents to 60 cents an hour and possibly extending metered time until 9 p.m. are just some of the numbers the council is throwing around.