Fiorentini Says Downtown Parking Rate Hike Will Pay for Cleaning

An existing downtown parking meter. (WHAV News file photograph.)

Haverhill Mayor James J. Fiorentini is making a case for upping downtown parking rates—this time saying extra fees are needed to help pay for cleanup efforts and installation of public recycle bins.

A proposal to increase the city’s paid parking rates at municipal lots, as well as to double on-street paid parking rates to $1 per hour, has been under review by the city council’s Administration and Finance committee since May. In response to a downtown recycle bin inquiry online, Fiorentini said the only way to pay for the bins is for “people who park downtown pay for the cleanup downtown.”

“Our parking rates, the lowest in state, do not generate enough revenue to keep downtown clean or to pay to pickup trash downtown,” Fiorentini said. “I know it is unpopular but running a government sometimes requires tough decisions. The tough decision we need to make is to raise parking rates so we can do what we would all like to do downtown.”

In May, councilors referred two proposed matching parking fee ordinances for east and west sections of the Central Business District to its administration and finance committee. The most recent proposal divides the downtown district into east and west zones in order to allow three councilors with businesses on Merrimack Street to vote on the west zone ordinance. An earlier opinion from the Massachusetts State Ethics Commission determined the three could not vote on the original proposal covering the district as a whole.

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.”

An upcoming meeting of the administration and finance committee has yet to be scheduled, according to City Council Administrative Assistant Barbara S. Arthur. Due to last month’s city budget review process, the subcommittee has not formally met since April 22.

11 thoughts on “Fiorentini Says Downtown Parking Rate Hike Will Pay for Cleaning

  1. I avoid going downtown, so I do not contribute to the mess. And, I tell every business that I formerly frequented the reason why I will not go hunting for a parking space downtown.

  2. I frequent go to Beverly, Ma. and their public downtown parking is 25 cents for FOUR hours!!! In their downtown area, you could eat off of the sidewalks and streets! So why is it that the town of Beverly can have clean streets and sidewalks and only charge 25 cents for four hrs. and Haverhill can’t do the same…..The Mayors is totally way off base here!! Besides, I think that parking should be free in the downtown area, let alone raising the rates! The Mayor is always supposedly wanting to build up the downtown area, but raising the price of parking is just going to drive people elsewhere!

  3. It’s a brilliant idea. If no one parks downtown,then no goes downtown. The stores all close and the streets are empty – less and street cleaning and faster to clean – instant savings! The mayor-for-life is a financial genius!

  4. I haven’t been able to figure out where to park or where to pay downtown since the. inception of paid parking. Count me out. Raise the rates., still won’t visit. Would rather go elsewhere. 😉

  5. This is a bit much. Public Recycle Bins and Downtown Cleanup? NOTHING has changed in downtown since the start of paid parking. ALL we will have to show for paid parking is RECYCLING BINS? how about paving the parking lots, or cleaning the trash in the parking lots, or turning on the lights at night in the parking lots. This will turn people away from visiting downtown.

  6. What the Heck??? Next he’ll want us to pay an increase to fund the purchase of toilet paper for City Hall, which is becoming a major expense!

  7. I’d prefer it if we paid 25 cents for 15 minutes rather than $1/hour. It’s so frustrating when you get downtown at 6:45pm. Then you have to pay for an extra full hour when you only need 15 minutes.

  8. I was in Newburyport last Friday and it was 50 cents an hour. Haverhill really needs to remove parking charges and enforce time limits with fines. Its really that simple.