Ferndale to Vote on Raising Parking Rates, Enforcement Hours

Ferndale to Vote on Raising Parking Rates, Enforcement Hours

(Crystal A. Proxmire, Jan. 27, 2019)

Ferndale, MI – As construction is about to begin on the city’s mixed use parking deck development, “the dot,” the City of Ferndale is considering raising parking rates on all meters.

According to the City Council agenda packet, “The City recommends increasing the hourly parking rate from $.50 per hour to $1.00 per hour for all metered parking in the City of Ferndale.

We also recommend adjusting parking enforcement to 11 a.m. – Midnight. The current hours are 10 a.m. –  9 p.m.”

Funding “the dot” is the main impetus for the rate increases. The development will add 400 parking spaces to Downtown Ferndale, yet it will also reduce available parking during the construction.  The cost of “the dot” is $20 million in capital improvement bonds that will be repaid through the parking fund.  “Additional debt service coupled with the loss of parking spaces during construction creates an operating  deficit that is projected to eat into the  Auto Parking Fund’s  existing cash reserves. The size of the early deficit is dependent upon parking rates,” according to the agenda packet.

Also in the agenda packet is a study conducted by WGI Michigan.  The study looked at various economic factors including revenue, expenses, and comparisons to other cities.

In 2015 parking fees brought in $880,166.  In 2018 they brought in $1,072,159.

In 2015 parking permits brought in $94,552.  In 2018 they brought in $96,857.

In 2015 parking citations brought in $172,203.  In 2018 they brought in $297,396.

Total expenses were $824,591 in 2015 and $1,313,157 in 2018.  Two points of increase were singled out in the report.  Administrative expenses were high in 2018 due to planning around “the dot.”  Credit card fees also jumped out, increasing from $63,195 in 2015 to $151,157 in 2018.

The report encourages consideration of rate increases.  “It is important to understand that the dot will not generate enough revenue to pay off the new debt and that  the  City  of  Ferndale will need to rely on system – wide parking revenues  to satisfy  its debt service  requirements…..We believe a range of $148,311 to $281,100 of additional annual revenues could be realized based upon our two different approaches to estimating the   financial impact of expanded   meters   hours.   We acknowledge these are not large sums of money in the broad sense, but as the Ferndale parking system incurs debt, every revenue source will need to be maximized for the fiscal health of the parking system.  The dual benefit of expanded meter hours is that the policy helps to deter bar and restaurant employees from parking on-street taking up parking that is intended for customers,” the report states.

The report also looked at costs in neighboring cities and across the state. In Birmingham the hourly rate is $1.50, but with the first two hours free in the parking decks.  In Royal Oak the cost is $1.00 per hour, also with the first two hours free in the parking decks.  Rochester is $1.50 and Pontiac is $1.00.  Cities selected from further away have higher costs, such as Lansing at $1.50 per hour, Ann Arbor at $1.70, and Grand Rapids and Kalamazoo both at $1.75.

They also compared the cost of monthly permits.  Ann Arbor charges $165 per month.  East Lansing is at $100 per month, Kalamazoo is at $94 per month, and Grand Rapids is at $140 per month.  Local monthly rates are less, with Royal Oak at $50 and Birmingham at $70.  Ferndale is considering making the monthly rate $60, though this is not on the agenda for Monday.

City Council will vote on the proposed meter rate increases and hours of enforcement at their Monday, Jan. 28, 2019 City Council meeting. The meeting takes place at 7pm at Ferndale City Hall.  For more information see the City of Ferndale website.

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