Discusses Two-Ramp Dilemma
MINOT – The Minot City Council reconsidered Tuesday its previous motion to make use of a downtown parking ramp free of charge.
A couple weeks ago the council voted to make the Renaissance Parking Garage located at 205 First Street Southwest, adjacent to the new City Hall and one of two downtown parking ramps, free of charge for the public. The reasoning behind it was because employees of the city will soon be moving in and will need parking. The council thought they should make parking free for the employees, and to be fair, should make it free for everyone to avoid the exclusive free parking for employees being considered an employment benefit.
“In listening to constituents and thinking it through, some of us had some second thoughts about that, particularly in regard to waiving fees for parking at the ramp next to the new City Hall,” said Alderman Stephan Podrygula. “We’ll lose a significant amount of income if we waive fees for everybody, something like $37,000 a year, and I think it will provoke an exodus of people from the other ramps from one where they have to pay to one where they don’t have to pay.”
The council unanimously voted against its previous motion to make the ramp free of charge for everyone, and created a new motion to leave the parking ramp as is except to waive parking fees for city employees only.
“We’ve heard quite a lot of feedback from downtown merchants, current parking pass holders, a lot of people,” said Alderwoman Carrie Evans. “Our intention was to provide city employees with the same free parking they have here when they relocate to the new workplace. Our city employees at the airport already receive this benefit as well, so it really is remaining consistent with that, and maintaining the revenue that we currently receive from the paid monthly parkers and hourly parkers.”
David Lakefield, finance director, verified that the waiving of fees for employees is below the threshold to be considered a tax benefit.
The Renaissance Parking Garage has 188 parking spots. It is projected that up to 80 city employees will utilize the parking garage once the move is made to the new City Hall.
The new motion to make the parking ramp free only for city employees passed unanimously.