Council to Consider Doubling Haverhill’s Downtown Hourly Parking Fee

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

The hourly amount drivers pay to park in downtown Haverhill may jump from 50 cents to $1 if an increase is passed by the City Council. (File photograph)

Haverhill residents might have to dig a little deeper into their pockets to feed downtown parking meters should a proposed fee increase be approved by the City Council.

At Tuesday’s meeting, the Council will consider a possible 50-cent increase in the downtown district’s municipal parking fee. If approved, the meter fee would double, going from 50 cents to $1 per hour.

Mayor James J. Fiorentini tells WHAV an increase is a necessary evil, as the city is not expected to allocate additional parking spaces or lots in the downtown area any time soon.

“We no longer have the money in the parking program to fix and replace parking meters,” Fiorentini told WHAV. “I understand it’s a tough vote to ever raise anything at any time, but if we don’t do this, there’s going to be far more complaints about broken parking meters than we’d ever get from going from 50 cents to a dollar.”

Should the rate increase pass, Fiorentini said Haverhill would still be one of the cheapest cities in which to park. Newburyport’s municipal parking fees are on par with Haverhill as the least expensive in the state, but the waterfront community will soon hike their fee to $2 per hour, Fiorentini said.

Tuesday’s City Council meeting, carried live by WHAV starting at 7 p.m., will also address the National Grid lockout at the request of Councilor Melinda E. Barrett, Fiorentini said. Local workers have been locked out of their jobs since contraction negotiations fell apart last week, with the company rescinding employee health benefits until the contract dispute is resolved.

Fiorentini declared National Grid’s actions to be “outrageous.”

Said the Mayor: “I don’t take sides on what’s a good settlement and what isn’t, but I certainly take sides on the negotiation tactics and this is outrageous.”