They Were So Unprepared
Last year the Thompson Administration proposed “revenue generating legislation,” which they sent down to City Council, which got placed in the Budget and Finance Committee, which have been sitting there ever since.
On 9/15, this Committee met for the first public hearing on three bills, which all in all, propose Harrisburg parking rate increases: 1) residential permit parking from $15/yr to $30 first-time, $25 annual renewal 2) Parking Tax increase from 15% to 20% (which parking businesses pay–the Parking Authority pays 90% of this tax) and 3) parking meter increases from $1/hr to $2-$2.50/hr. The Councilmembers at the Committee meeting–Chair Susan Brown Wilson, Patty Kim, Wanda Williams, and Eugenia Smith–didn’t disagree that increases were in order. In fact, the residential permit parking fee hasn’t been increased in 27 years. But the members did want information on how the Administration derived the rate increases. Studies? Fee analysis? Comparisons to other Third Class cities? Public feedback? Thompson Administration representatives Finance Director Bob Kroboth and Police Chief Pierre Ritter shook their heads no. They had very few concrete data to give the Committee. There was a lot of “We can get that,” and “I don’t have that with me and I’m not sure offhand.” Committee members were flabbergasted (as were the few of us there).
It was unbelievable that the most fundamental and significant questions couldn’t be answered–How much does the City currently make from parking meters? Kroboth will check on that. How many residential parking permits are issued each year in Harrisburg? And how much more annual revenue will the City get with the Administration’s proposed increase? They’ll get that information. Which City areas are currently permit parking? The Chief wasn’t sure but next time will bring the captain who knows and a map. It was a pathetic and quite frankly unacceptable display of Administrative leadership, not to come to a meeting prepared. And a waste of time.
Next meeting is September 26th @ 5:30pm, City Council Chambers, City Hall. Try again, Thompson Administration.