Town officials on Tuesday voted to raise the fees for permits at parking lots in New Canaan by 2 percent, settling an open question that had divided the volunteer body appointed advise on such matters.
The Board of Selectmen after some discussion voted 3-0 in favor of the modest increase, to take effect July 1:
New Canaan Parking Permit Rates
* Following a 3-0 vote at the March 27, 2018 Board of Selectmen meeting
Parking Commission Chairman Keith Richey, a guest at the meeting, advocated for the increase as a way to build up a fund that’s designed to help with upkeep and improvements at lots such as the Lumberyard, Richmond Hill and Talmadge Hill.
“We are taking about [a] $12 [increase] for the most expensive and less for the others,” Richey said at the meeting, held in Town Hall.
“This is the time to be building up the parking fund, which the increase would do — do the expansion at Talmadge Hill and have some money set aside to maybe do the Lumberyard, eventually — so to me there is every reason to be increasing, particularly when we are not talking about an egregious increase here. We are talking about something at rate of inflation or even below inflation at 2 percent. Still, the dollars add up.”
First Selectman Kevin Moynihan and Selectmen Kit Devereaux and Nick Williams voted in favor of the increase.
Earlier this month, a divided commission could not come to a majority consensus on whether to keep rates flat or increase them by 2 or 3 percent. One parking commissioner, Chris Hering, had proposed a 20 percent reduction.
At the selectmen meeting, Richey and Parking Manager Stacy Miltenberg reviewed the commission’s discussion.
“There was no agreement so they are leaving it up to you guys,” Miltenberg said. “History has shown that they have increased permit fees 2 percent over the years.”
In 2014, the Parking Commission recommended keeping rates flat.
Devereaux asked for insight into Hering’s reasons for proposing a reduction.
Richey answered: “He felt that the train service not been good and it has getting worse, there has been nothing done for parking and property values are going down, not up, and so people deserve a break so let’s give them 20 percent break and of course no one bought that idea.”
Moynihan said it was important to note that since 2012, “we have had a policy that increases go into a separate parking fund—not into the general fund” and are dedicated to “the express purpose of maintenance, expansion and improvement of parking facilities.”
He added: “We have a number of parking lots that need to be paved. We are only going to address a couple this time.”
Williams commended Moynihan for taking a lead on parking and said projects such as the expansion of the Talmadge Hill to are “low-hanging fruit” that can be “done pretty cheaply.”
“I am only elected official who is a full-time commuter,” Williams said. “Honestly, I do not see a groundswell of criticism about the fees are too high. There is a groundswell that train times are too slow. Time on the trains gets worse and worse.”