EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

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July 6, 2013

Paid parking nets $367K in year one

Short of $400K target, but officials tout success

HAVERHILL — Downtown’s paid parking program took in $367,000 in the fiscal year that ended last week — a respectable haul for sure, but short of the $400,000 the city hoped to reach.

Haverhill’s contract with the private company running the program, SP Plus Municipal Services, required the city to hit the benchmark to keep all of a second $100,000 payment from the firm. The city received the first $100,000 up front.

As a result, the city had to return the difference — about $33,000, Mayor James Fiorentini said.

According to a financial analysis, $152,000 was tallied from meter payments and $215,000 from the sale of permits in fiscal 2013, which ended June 30. Cash receipts from meters slightly outpaced credit cards $84,000 to $68,000, the financial report showed.

Parking on downtown’s major roads is 50 cents per hour, Monday through Friday from 3 p.m. to 8 p.m., or $15 per month for a permit to park in public lots surrounding the Washington Street train station. Permits are reserved for people who live or work downtown.

The new financial review shows meter revenue from the program has steadily increased from $12,000 in the first month last August to $17,000 in May.

The mayor and several city councilors said the upward trend is evidence the program has been successful.

“This is a very good sign the parking plan, overall, is working,” Fiorentini said, noting that meter receipts rose by 43 percent from August 2013 to May 2014.

Councilor William Ryan, who opposed paid parking at first, also seems to have warmed to it.

“I’m encouraged by the numbers,” Ryan said of the financial report. “The (participation) numbers have consistently gone up and it shows people are getting used to it. I’m downtown every day and it’s much easier to find a parking spot now. People do their business and move on. We have gotten rid of the all-day parkers, which was the goal. The report is evidence the plan is working and we have another revenue stream as a bonus.”

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