Mayor Refiles Parking Rate Increases, Sidesteps Ethics Ruling

Haverhill Mayor James J. Fiorentini. (Courtesy photograph.)

Three members of the Haverhill city council who are downtown business owners would be allowed to vote on proposed rate increases for paid parking under a revised plan from Mayor James J. Fiorentini.

A proposal, recently submitted on behalf of the Downtown Parking Commission and the city’s parking consultant, would increase paid parking rates by as much as 100 percent for on-street parking, has been replaced by virtually identical rate increases. They are separated between “central business district-east section” and “central business district-west section,” according to Fiorentini. As late as last Monday, Fiorentini told WHAV’s Open Mike Show listeners he hadn’t yet made a decision on what to present to the city council.

“You always want to keep your downtown affordable. So, there’s always that balance and I haven’t completely made up my mind what to recommend to the council on this,” Fiorentini said.

In a letter to the council, Fiorentini wrote, “Our city solicitor has been informed by the ethics commission that it would not be a conflict of interest for those three councilors to vote on that section of the parking rules which affect the west side of downtown. Accordingly, we hereby withdraw the ordinance sent to the council earlier. We submit two new ordinances, one for the east side of downtown and one for the west side.”

The proposals define the east side of downtown as streets and municipal parking lots “within the Central Business District, filed in the office of the city engineer, that are east of, but not including, Essex Street and Washington Square.”

During the council’s March 30 meeting, Fiorentini expressed concern there would not be enough votes to pass fee increases. An ethics ruling determined councilors Melinda Barrett, Thomas Sullivan and Michael S. McGonagle are prohibited from voting on the original proposal for the entire downtown business district. They have businesses within the newly-defined east side and would now only be allowed to vote on the “west side” ordinance.

Under the new, separate ordinances, the proposed fee increases and uniform enforcement hours for paid parking on-street and at municipal lots remain unchanged from the original proposal. Readers of a WHAV Facebook post last month largely condemned the plan.

“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 council on Tuesday is expected to place the revised paid parking ordinance proposals on file for two weeks and refer them to the Administration and Finance subcommittee, as requested by Fiorentini.

9 thoughts on “Mayor Refiles Parking Rate Increases, Sidesteps Ethics Ruling

  1. The article if I may quote “I haven’t completely made up my mind what to recommend to the council on this.”. Is he the Mayor of the King. Do we have a council to debate these types of issues? Real estate developers best friend, local business’s constant thorn in the side.

  2. How much money has been lost since the plan has been put into place ? It took 8 years for THAT plan to get done and we were told that it would be ” in the black” from the start. Who is lying here Mr. Mayor ? How much money has been generated annually and WHERE has it gone ?

  3. Why should you have to pay for parking if you live in Haverhill. You pay your taxes. All he is doing this is for the pensions and and pay raises and he is not being true to the people of Haverhill of hiding the money. CROOKS

    • It goes to the same place the $3.5MILLION budget SURPLUS in FY2013 and the technology improvements savings (still UNREPORTED by the mayor) from that same year goes….it goes into hiding never to be seen or heard of again. Then the mayor turns around and hands out pay raises to school administrators without seeking city council approval and not one person asked where the money was going to come from. And of course, he uses it to buy all those flower pots for downtown and a silly playground and then makes the claim how the city is making “investments” in its infrastructure. But he’s got to keep it in hiding or else how is he going to make claims like he did last week saying he has no idea how to cover a $1MILLION budget shortfall.

      • In my years on this planet, many many by the way, I have never seen a small city/town ever be run for the citizens, always for the Honcho and his/her buddies/friends/possible employers/partners when they leave elected office. This guy is a great example, get a little power and your head gets so fat they don’t makes hats big enough.