Councilors Scuttle Mayor Fiorentini’s Downtown Parking Plan

Downtown business owner Linda Germain. (Photograph by Kimberly Jones Photography.)

Downtown parking sign as photographed by Linda Germain.

Downtown parking sign as photographed by Linda Germain.

Haverhill city councilors voted this week to scuttle Mayor James J. Fiorentini’s updated downtown parking plan, which included fee increases, uniform hours and delegation of the council’s authority to the Central Business District Parking Commission.

The vote fell short of six votes needed to pass after five of the nine councilors abstained Tuesday night. As part of a “compromise” plan on proposed downtown paid parking fee increases, it would have added a city council representative to the parking commission and allow the commission to raise rates, make fees and hours uniform across the downtown and add Saturday fees. Among those abstaining, Councilor William J. Macek questioned how many of the six commission seats are filled since his earlier request for a list.

“I requested a list of the parking commission members, and at the time the list that I received through the mayor’s office only had two members that were still active and they were only going to be active until Dec. 9. I don’t have the list with me this evening but I’m looking here and it shows there would be six voting members. I’m a little concerned about voting on something I’m not even sure… Are there re-appointed and have we been notified of that?” Macek asked.

In addition to Macek, others abstaining were councilors Colin F. LePage, Michael S. McGonagle, Melinda E. Barrett and Thomas J. Sullivan.

Linda Germain, a downtown business owner who spearheaded a petition and delivered 250 signatures in opposition to the plan, residents, requested the council leave the downtown parking program unchanged for now.

“The city is just coming out of a bad contract with S and P that cost the city hundreds of thousands of dollars because the base threshold amount was not collected Let’s pause, re-evaluate and recover from the bad contract. The problem with an appointed commission is that they do not represent the people affected by the parking ordinance,” Germain said.

The proposal, which emerged in August at the council’s Administration and Finance Committee, would have also set limits on the actions the commission may take and allow the city council to retain some oversight power, according to committee member and Councilor Mary Ellen Daly O’Brien. Saturday parking fees were not part of Fiorentini’s proposed compromise, but were added by the subcommittee.

4 thoughts on “Councilors Scuttle Mayor Fiorentini’s Downtown Parking Plan

  1. So, how can residents allow an “appointed’ board to have the power to raise rates when they see fit ?? Before you know it, parking will be $5 an hour with the mayor talking the money for his pet projects.

  2. Andy Vargas: Are you paying attention?
    Last week I foretold your future of requesting information from mayor Taxman about topics of interest to you and how he’ll ignore you and outright refuse to provide it to you. And look what happened here…Bill Macek, a long time city councilor and terrific advocate for the people of Haverhill requested information and Taxman blatantly refused to provide it to him. Get ready Andy….

    Nice job Bill !!!