Starting next Monday, parking tickets in Allentown will see a price hike. The parking authority’s board of directors finalized this decision after passing several measures aimed at minimizing the financial strain on lower-income residents. Despite opposition and a failed motion for reconsideration by council member Ce-Ce Gerlach, the increase will proceed. This change aims to address a significant budget deficit the parking authority is facing.

Details of the Board Meeting and Proposed Solutions

At a recent board meeting, held on a Wednesday, the directors unanimously agreed to take preliminary steps towards improving parking management in the city. These steps include a thorough examination of current meters to assess potential additions or removals, and introducing an internal payment plan. This payment plan aims to help those who cannot afford to pay their parking tickets in one go by letting them pay in smaller, more manageable installments. The board had previously discussed these initiatives but faced limitations due to budget constraints.

Financial Aspects and Community Impact

The increase in parking fees is projected to generate an additional $600,000 in revenue. This boost in funds is crucial for plugging the $1.8 million gap in the budget. It also aims to support other parking-related activities throughout the city. Although implementing the new study and payment plans comes with significant costs (estimated between $30,000 to $40,000 each), the expected increase in revenue should justify these expenses. However, council member Ce-Ce Gerlach and former board member Yamilett Gomez have raised concerns about the impact of these increases on the working class, suggesting that the payment plan should be operational before implementing any fee hikes.

Discussion on Parking Patrols and Enforcement

Another significant change discussed is the potential restoration of 24/7 parking patrols, which the authority discontinued last year due to public dissatisfaction over unfair ticketing practices. Currently, parking enforcement operates from 7 AM to 10 PM, Monday through Saturday, with round-the-clock responses to safety-related complaints available through a dispatch service. Board Chair Ted Zeller indicated that there’s been a shift in community feedback suggesting that illegal parking isn’t being sufficiently managed, which might lead to the restoration of continuous patrols. However, any decision to restore these patrols will likely wait until the board fills the vacancy left by Gomez’s resignation.