Cincinnati city council members made it clear Monday that they don't much care for City Manager Harry Black's idea of plugging part of a budget hole with a parking ticket increase.
Black's proposed budget would increase parking tickets from $45 to $60.
In the big scheme of things, the extra revenue from a parking fine increase would be relatively small potatoes. It would raise about $900,000 a year in a $1.6 billion all-funds budget; and take a piece out of a $26 million deficit that Black's proposed budget closes.
Nonetheless, the majority of council's finance committee – made up of all nine council members - made it clear at Black's budget presentation Monday that they don't like the idea.
Council Member Chris Seelbach asked Black what the alternatives to a parking meter fine increase would be. Black mentioned possible furloughs of city employees and cuts to city services.
Seelbach said furloughs would be fine with him.
"I do think furloughs, especially for our highest paid employees, would make more sense than increasing an already pretty steep parking fee to another $60, which the public absolutely does not want,'' Seelbach said.
Council Member P.G. Sittenfeld suggested that perhaps there could be an increasing scale for frequent offenders. Council Member Wendell Young agreed, saying it's hard enough for drivers to find street parking, especially downtown.
"I think we really ought to be mindful of the fact that it is difficult to find a place to park and it is really onerous to be fined when you are just a moment or two late,'' Young said.
Black emphasized his proposed budget is just a starting point for council, which is required to pass a balanced budget by June 30. Mayor John Cranley says he plans to release his own proposal later this week.