Dormont raises parking rates in business district

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With the start of 2014 comes the start of a new fee schedule in Dormont.

People who live and work in the borough will notice several changes compared with the previous year, including an increase in parking permits for the business district. The cost is $20 more per month, with business owners, managers and employees, along with business-district residents, now paying $75.

The increase is expected to generate an additional $35,040 in revenue for the borough.

A second option, as discussed by Dormont council during preparations for the 2014 budget, would have been to eliminate the permits and have solely meters used for parking.

According to a November memo sent by borough manager Jeff Naftal to council members, "if someone were to put money in a meter, even at 50 cents per hour, they would pay $80 per month." The result would be $43,800 in additional revenue, compared with the $55-per-month permit fee.

Council chose to retain the permits, Mr. Naftal said, based on this perspective: "We're not going to make people pay the whole thing, but we're going to make them pay more. They're still saving $5 per month by going with the permit."

Not everyone who parks in Dormont shares that point of view.

Bill Miller, 34-year owner of Bill's Auto Service, off West Liberty Avenue, said he is concerned about the effect on employees who make modest wages.

"That amounts to a 37 percent slap in the face," Mr. Miller said about the increase, while also expressing doubts about the viability of business growth in Dormont. "How do you draw them here when you have to pay so much to park?"

He plans to address the issue at council's meeting Monday.

Also during the meeting, council will consider a change to the fee schedule as approved in December.

As written, the schedule calls for renting the borough community center at $300 for four hours, the minimum time allotted, plus $60 per additional hour. The minimum could be changed to six hours, Mr. Naftal said.

The rate previously had been $250 for four hours and $50 per additional hour.

Other items in the 2014 fee schedule include:

• Community or meeting room rentals on the lower level of the borough building now are $50 per hour for Dormont residents and $70 for nonresidents, double the amounts previously charged.

• Notary public services remain free to borough residents, while nonresidents now are charged $5 for one or two pages and $5 for each additional page.

• A new fee of $10 is in place for use of the borough's outdoor fields.

• Tennis court fees are "now based on one-hour lessons and the number of days those lessons will be provided." Previously, per-day rent was charged for use during the offseason.

Hourly lesson fees are $25 for one to six days, $15 for seven to 13 days and $10 for 14-plus days.

• Fees for borough street maps and zoning maps decrease from $2.50 to 50 cents. Copies now are 25 cents per page.

Harry Funk, freelance writer:

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