Budget Busting Parking Garages
COLUMBIA - Another stall on the drive to Columbia's parking dilemma. Columbia's City Council last night shelved parking rate increases until June 6. But, rising deficits caused by the parking garage at Fifth and Walnut could put the city's parking utility into the red.
The postponed ordinance would double the cost of an hour of parking downtown. Most meters in the downtown Columbia area cost 30 cents per hour, but the proposed plan would bump that to 60 cents per hour of parking. This increase would ease the financial strain caused by disappointing numbers for the new garage.
The Fifth and Walnut garage failed to sell as many permit parking passes as originally hoped. In March, the garage only sold 18 new public permits, netting less than $3,000. In comparison, just the electric bill for the garage was more than $3,000.
Mayor Bob McDavid said that he wanted to wait until more information was available on the proposed Short Street Garage before deciding on the increased rates. However, with that garage two years away from construction -- if indeed it is ever constructed -- Columbia could be parking in the red in the near future.