Wilmington, NC – Nickels and quarters won't buy as much time in Wilmington parking meters if the city approves its proposed budget.
Fee hikes in the budget would raise the hourly rate for meters from 50 to 75 cents, and add $5 to the cost of monthly passes in the parking decks.
The increased deck revenue would go to more cleaning and security. The projected $290,000 increase from the meters is earmarked to pay down debt incurred in the construction of the Market street deck.
Parking manager Betty Gurganus says raising meter rates is about strategy as much as money - more pricey meters should encourage more drivers to use the parking decks.
Gurganus describes on-street parking as 'front row;' "and anytime you have front row seats at the theater or wherever, you typically pay a higher price."
Chris Andrews with the Downtown Business Alliance says he's worried news of higher parking prices could scare off shoppers.
"Because there's a perception that there's either no parking or its very expensive to park," Andrews said, leaning on a Front Street meter. "And to raise the rates at this point is a bit premature. People are just starting to come back into downtown again."