Ferndale council votes to increase parking rates, hours

By: Mike Koury | Woodward Talk | Published February 12, 2019

 On Feb. 4, the Ferndale City Council approved increasing the parking rates and enforcement hours in order to bring in more money to pay for the construction of the development on Troy Street, known as “The dot.”

On Feb. 4, the Ferndale City Council approved increasing the parking rates and enforcement hours in order to bring in more money to pay for the construction of the development on Troy Street, known as “The dot.”

Photo by Mike Koury

Advertisement

FERNDALE — To help pay for the construction of the development on Troy Street, known as “The dot,” Ferndale will be raising the hourly rates for all metered parking in the city.

The City Council approved the change at its Feb. 4 meeting, increasing the rate from 50 cents to $1 per hour. The enforcement schedule also was changed  from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. to 11 a.m. to midnight Mondays through Saturdays. The new rates and hours will go into effect April 1.

The dot will bring 400 parking spaces, as well as office, commercial and residential space. It will be located at the West Troy Street parking lot, which was shut down after the official groundbreaking for the structure Feb. 2.

The increase came because Ferndale will be issuing $20 million in bonds to pay for The dot, Mayor Dave Coulter said, and these changes will be permanent, though the city does revisit its rates once a year and it would be possible to lower them in the future.

“The primary reason that we did it is to make sure that we have enough revenue from parking to pay for The dot,” he said. “The bonds on The dot are for 20 years, so we have to pay for that every year for 20 years. It’s to ensure we have sufficient money for paying the bonds.”

All money raised will go to the city’s auto parking fund so that nothing from Ferndale’s general fund will be used to pay for the project. 

According to a study by WGI Michigan Inc., the city’s parking fees have increased over the last four fiscal years, from 2015 to 2018. For fiscal year 2018, parking fees brought in $1,072,159.

Coulter said the increase also happened to make sure the residents and taxpayers of Ferndale don’t have to pay anything for The dot, and instead leave it to the users of the parking system. 

“That, to me, was always the No. 1 consideration, that the parking system pays for The dot and that Ferndale residents don’t,” he said.

During the Feb. 4 meeting, the council heard from a number of concerned residents and business owners about the hourly rates.

Mark McConnell, owner of Boogie Fever Cafe and Disco, congratulated the city on finally getting the parking structure, but also said he wished the city would have adjusted the rates sooner, rather than right after closing the lot. 

“My biggest point of contention is picking and choosing when we’re charging,” he said. “I believe it’s fundamentally discriminatory to charge the late-night people versus the day people. Either we charge 24 hours a day or we don’t charge at all. I don’t think we should be picking winners and losers of who realizes the benefit of paying for parking or not.”

On the change to extend the enforcement hours, Coulter said the idea is to collect revenue when the greatest number of people are using the parking lots.

“To me, it’s just common sense that you would include the hours when most people are using the system,” he said.

“All of this is based on projections of what we think it will raise,” he said. “If the parking system raises more money than we expect, that’s another reason we could revisit it, but the experts tell us they have a pretty good idea of how much money can be raised by the system.”

Advertisement