Updated: Council Dodges Parking Bullet

Haverhill City Hall. (WHAV News file photograph.)

Haverhill City Councilors voted Tuesday night to postpone action on Mayor James J. Fiorentini’s recommended plan to increase downtown parking fees.

Councilors voted to send the matter back to its Administration and Finance Committee and to the parking commission after Fiorentini expressed concern there would not be enough votes to pass fee increases. Council Vice President Robert H. Scatamacchia was absent and Councilors Melinda Barrett, Thomas Sullivan and Michael S. McGonagle are prohibited from voting since they have downtown businesses.

Councilor William H. Ryan, who made the motion, told Fiorentini there are different opinions on the plan among councilors.

“I’m going to recommend that it go to the committee, administration finance, where you and the consultants and the members of the committee can work out what kind of rates we’re going to charge, where we’re going to charge them. I think that’s a better way to do it and then we’ll have a bill when it comes out of committee, we can all support it. Even though three of our members will have to abstain we should be able to have at least six votes or five at the minimum,” Ryan said.

Councilors Melinda Barrett, Thomas Sullivan and Michael S. McGonagle are prohibited from voting since they have downtown businesses. Council Vice President Robert H. Scatamacchia was absent. Councilor William J. Macek presided over the council meeting as President John A. Michitson participated by remote teleconference.

As WHAV reported Monday, Haverhill parking Consultant John Burke and the Central Business District Parking Commission proposed to proposal to expand paid parking hours in the downtown along with fee increases, including a proposed doubling of the on-street parking rate from 50 cents to $1 per hour.

Readers of a WHAV Facebook post largely condemned the plan, causing Fiorentini to comment.

“Just put a nail in the coffin of restaurants in downtown Haverhill. Doubling fees?” wrote Richard Linehan. Bucky Jenkins wrote, “Doubling parking fees makes no sense, only busy at night. It will hurt the restaurants. Charge a fee for the new white elephant you are building on the corner.”

The mayor responded, in part, “The proposal is from the parking commission not from me.” He later added, “I endorse the recommendation absolutely! Yes, it is a good proposal and I stand behind it.”

A number of downtown business representatives were in city council chambers, but did not speak once the item was postponed on a motion by Ryan.

WHAV will provide additional coverage during its Wednesday newscasts.


5 thoughts on “Updated: Council Dodges Parking Bullet

  1. I don’t support this primarily because we were told that the 50 cent/hr rates would cover it (and cause a $100k surplus), but c’mon. We’re talking 50 cents here. Is the outrage really necessary?

    • “Is the outrage really necessary?” –

      Yes, it is. Haverhill is already engaged in theft through deficit spending, as well as a text book version of a Ponzi scheme by way of their pension system (more taking than contributing). Just so we’re clear on this, All deficit spending MUST be made up through future production. Meanwhile, The People are being subjected to RECORD taxation by this state while their incomes are still holding at 14 year lows.

      The spiral downward continues through government legalized larceny.


  2. The Mayor says this proposal didn’t come from him but he supports it. So you want us to believe that the both of you NEVER spoke about this beforehand ?? C’mon Mr. Mayor, I was born at night but not last night !
    Then, they want to raise the off street fee from .50 to .75 ??? That’s like the post office raising the cost of stamps to .49 when they should have just gone to .50 and leave us alone for a while. Why not just go to a dollar and do the same ? Maybe this will only take 5 years to figure out.

    Have we gotten an accounting of where the parking money has gone so far ??