Metered parking could fund city's programs

Author: , Reporter, JFarris@wfmz.com
Published: Dec 01 2011 07:00:00 PM EST   Updated On: Dec 02 2011 11:02:47 PM EST
EASTON, Pa. -

Downtown Easton businesses and residents say they won't pay.

The city was hoping for a new tax on the district to pay for the programs used in the area but the majority of those living and working there voted it down.

Now the city is looking for other sources of funding.

Mayor Sal Panto says one possible way to pay for programs could be as easy as cracking open the city's parking meters.

But not everyone likes that idea either.

The city of Easton was hoping to put a Neighborhood Improvement District in place downtown to help pay for its main street and Ambassador programs.

"I like ambassadors they keep the streets clean they give to the outsiders that come to the Crayola Factory a good idea of where they can go," said Luis Maguino of the Juice and Coffee Bar.

But while downtown business owners like the programs, nearly half of downtown businesses told the city they didn't like the tax they would have to pay to fund them, and voted the measure down.

In February, a parking meter study is expected to be completed.

Mayor Sal Panto says raising meter rates could scare up enough change to keep the programs running.

But businesses are divided on the idea.

"I guess they could raise it a little bit but they need to bring people into the city and encourage them to come not discourage them more," said Randy Bentley of the Huntington Apartments.

"I think it will impact it quiet significantly we already have issues now with people getting so many parking tickets because of the limits that are offered on the time meters so it has influenced business prior to 6:00 when the meters start," said Melissa Lozada, manager of Valenca.

Panto says the rate raise is one of many ideas right now.

He says the city has enough money to pay for the programs for about six months.

He will ask the county for some hotel tax revenue to help out until a permanent funding solution is found.