Council OKs parking changes

ALPENA – The Alpena Municipal Council voted to increase the fines for overtime parking in certain parking spaces in the city, as well as designate a pair of parking lots to three hour parking.

The change in the parking structure was requested by Downtown Development Authority Director Lesslee Dort to help provide prime parking for customers visiting downtown, while making sure people who work in the businesses also are parked near by.

The new cost of overtime parking violations is $10, up from $3, and will double in cost for each 10 days the citation is unpaid. Dort said the $3 fine was out of line with what the costs of similar offenses are in the city. Dort said a parking attendant will be hired to patrol the parking lots and street parking spaces and issue citations.

Dort’s original request called for two parking lots to be two hour parking: the city lot behind The Alpena News and another behind the Owl Cafe, but after some deliberation council decided two hours was not enough time for many people downtown and agreed three hours would be better.

“It is my concern that the short term parking is too short,” Councilman Shawn Sexton said. “Things like going to a movie and dinner are extended activities, so my concern is to get people downtown and spend the day and then get ticketed.”

Dort said the number of overnight parking spots for downtown residents also was increased from 22 to 31 to accommodate the increasing number of people who live downtown. The hours they can park also will be increased to 24 hours a day, instead of 6 p.m.-9 a.m. as it is currently.

In other business:

* council received its 2012-13 audit report. The city had an increase in fund balance of $35,990 from the previous budget year. The total fund balance before the 2013-14 budget began was $3,131,728.

* Mayor Matt Waligora proclaimed the week of Jan. 19-25 Thunder Bay Film Festival Week in Alpena.

* the city released a question and answer brochure to provide residents more information on the proposed water and sewer rate increases.

Steve Schulwitz can be reached via email at sschulwitz@thealpenanews.com or by phone at 358-5689. Follow Steve on Twitter ss_alpenanews. Read his blog, Upon Further Review … at www.thealpenanews.com.