Committee Recommends Approval of ‘Compromise’ Parking Fee Plan

Advocating for a new parking plan were, from left, Department of Public Works Director Michael K. Stankovich, Mayor James J. Fiorentini and LAZ General Manager Todd Gilbert. In the rear are City Solicitor William D. Cox Jr. and parking consultant John Burke.

What was called a “compromise” parking plan—featuring a combination of fee increases, the addition of Saturday fees, lower minimum fees and standard hours—was recommended by a Haverhill City Council subcommittee Wednesday night.

The proposal, heard by the council’s Administration and Finance Committee and subject to approval by the full city council, turns over to the city’s parking commission the task of setting hours and raising fees up to $1 per hour and up to $20 per month for stickers. The city council would still have option of striking down any increases, but rates would increase if councilors took no action within 20 days of a hike. The plan averts a problem, said Haverhill Mayor James J. Fiorentini, where three city councilors with downtown businesses are unable to vote on Merrimack Street parking issues.

“I want to be able to clean the alleyways. I want to light them and clean them, but I need money to do these things,” the mayor. He added he wants a full-time person cleaning downtown and not the part-time person the city has been able to afford. Cleaning would involve sweeping and washing sidewalks.

The new plan, which would not go into effect until January at the earliest, would set uniform hours of 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. for both street parking and parking lots and add Saturday parking fees for the first time. Fiorentini said another aim would be to allow pay-by-phone parking, merchant validation and valet parking. Any rate increases would remain in effect for at least two years.

It was also announced the city switched parking vendors at the beginning of the month, replacing Standard Parking with LAZ Parking. The city is now paying a flat $120,000 annual fee rather than a revenue sharing agreement. Department of Public Works Director Michael K. Stankovich explained.

“The first contract was predicated on something called revenue thresholds. So, if they met revenue thresholds of, say, $400,000, then we would get x amount back from Standard Parking. Unfortunately, we never met those thresholds.”

LAZ can offer better rates and 24-hour service because it already has an office inside the Merrimack Valley Regional Transit Authority (MVRTA) garage, said Todd Gilbert, LAZ general manager.

“I totally agree with you…I totally, totally think we should pay more. And I think people will pay it because they do pay it in other places,” said Councilor Mary Ellen Daly-O’Brien, during an exchange with Fiorentini. She suggested allowing motorists to pay in 15-minute increments, helping those making short stops pay less.

Councilors agreed Merrimack Street parking lots will remain free after 5 p.m. and the street should eventually be fully metered to ensure consistency across the downtown. Movement in that direction, however, will wait until at least the Harbor Place project is completed.

Councilor William J. Macek voted against the provisions delegating authority to the parking commission and setting new hours, while Councilor Michael S. McGonagle abstained because he has a business on Merrimack Street. Besides O’Brien, the other committee member in favor was Colin F. LePage, subcommittee chairman. Councilor Melinda E. Barrett was present, but is not a member of the committee and would also be ineligible to vote because she is also a Merrimack Street business owner.

13 thoughts on “Committee Recommends Approval of ‘Compromise’ Parking Fee Plan

  1. See: Lawrence, Essex st…. circa the 1970’s. When the Methuen mall was being built, there was talk back then by the mayor of Lawrence to do something with Essex st. to make it more appealing to shoppers. They laughed at him saying that nothing was going to happen…the rest is history. Yea, let’s listen to Mary Ellen because she is so experienced in business building that she councils Trump. Gaad ! Why didn’t they get that paltry amount of money from the developers of the new project ? Oh yeah, The Mayor was out of the loop on that one ! Lol

  2. Mary Ellen Daley Obrien says, “I totally agree with you…I totally, totally think we should pay more. And I think people will pay it because they do pay it in other places.” This taxpayer reaction to that statement is that I pay 50 cents of every dollar earned in taxes and fees. That includes city, state and federal officials who have their hands in my pocket, and I refuse to pay any more than I already pay. I can get along just fine not frequenting downtown businesses.

  3. Saturday fees now too? – Sorry Haverhill – I will NEVER eat, shop, or attend anything downtown again – the Loop in Methuen is right up the road and much easier to do business with. The Mayor and the City Council – should they approve this can go Sh*t in their hats.

    – and yes, Mr. Mayor we can still post anonymously – doesn’t that drive you nuts? hahahahaha You are killing our city.

    Good Luck.

    • COB there are at least 75 great places to go for dinner with easy access, free parking in Haverhill or within a few miles out of Haverhill depending on where you live. Remember there is also a city food tax too.

      • Thanks Rich – yes I am aware – I often frequent Maria’s, Kreugers, and the A-1 deli – (bobby is a great guy and he has known my father and myself for years).

        I’m done however – plenty of other places to go and eat at the Loop, downtown Andover etc – and I just go to Al’s for breakfast on 110 in Methuen.

        This Mayor is killing the city of Haverhill and is a liar and a fraud.

        Our city should be in receivership and the books of every department should be audited by an independent firm – if that happened – people wouldn’t believe the corruption!!

    • I agree 100% with everything you say above. I just wish there was a worthy opponent to run against Fiorentini. All these small increases really add up when added together and compounded year after year.

      • Who would want the job?

        Any ideas or thought process against the status quo in this city, or against Beacon Hill’s Number Two bagman in The House; Brian Dempsey, will be dismantled. So even if one has an excellent platform, Haverhill is so beyond poor, Dempsey will just withhold funding towards Hale debt (making deficit spending worse) during your tenure and eventually pit everyone against you. By the end of the persons first term, the city will be in worse financial ruin than it already is, and any support will be gone.

        The Mayor is a in-the-tank Democratic totalitarian, he knows whatever Dempsey wants, Dempsey gets. The entire Merrimack Valley contingent on Beacon Hill needs to be replaced first, minus Diana DiZoglio , who is the only one in the region who displays even an ounce of courage against the status quo of her own Party and actually HEARS/LISTENS to The People on occasion. Unfortunately, the lines are so incredibly gerrymandered, he will be worm food before any of the above has a chance of happening.

    • Of course people posting on here drives Failurentini nuts….he hasn’t found a way to censor WHAV like he did with the folks at the Eagle Tribune.

      I wonder what the ET got in exchange for their silence? Because last time I checked their online site visits were way down and people visited their website for an average duration of 2.5 minutes. Yes, that’s minutes!! So no one is even reading the paper now….they’re going online to check obituaries and then leaving. Why any company would advertise online at the ET is a mystery….they’re throwing their money away.

    • It dies drive him nuts. That’s why the Tribune stopped anonymous posts because He and Zanni complained and they feed the that rag all their good stories. .

  4. “The first contract was predicated on something called revenue thresholds. So, if they met revenue thresholds of, say, $400,000, then we would get x amount back from Standard Parking. Unfortunately, we never met those thresholds.” –

    So much for that $100K profit I guess.

    “It was also announced the city switched parking vendors at the beginning of the month, replacing Standard Parking with LAZ Parking.” –

    The changeover is probably due to certain politicians realizing their bribe money, I mean campaign donations from Standard Parking were lacking. According to OCPF data, Standard’s bribe monies were a paltry $1,335.00, whereas LAZ Parking made sure pols were kept happy with their $11,150.00 quid pro quo.

  5. It NEVER ceases to amaze me the depth to which this sleazy, failing mayor will go in trying to convince both the people who work in government and taxpayers that he needs more money.

    You need money to clean alley’s and provide lighting? Taxpayers already pay the city money for that EVERY year in the city DPW budget!! Maybe you should actually read it. Where is all the money going from the record setting parking fines that have been issued this year after you invested in a city vehicle and hired someone to driver around and meet ticket writing quotas? The number of tickets written this year are off the charts as you’ve found yet another way to create a revenue stream and in the process drive people away from going downtown all together.

    Melinda Barrett, Mike McGonagle and Tom Sullivan….you all should be ashamed!!! As business owners downtown you all know the significant negative impact these intrusive fees and fines are having on business owners downtown yet you all say nothing!!! I’m sure you all also know about the Nazi like tactics the mayor has imposed on business owners who do dare speak out against his policies, yet again…silence from all of you!! If you all don’t have a the stomach for doing the right thing and supporting people whose lives are being ruined then please step down. There’s no place for people to just stand by and do nothing.