Let’s first define “public parking”.
Public parking means using the lots to park your car where you do not patronize any of the adjoining businesses. You park your car in the lot and walk away from all the businesses in the area. You park and leave your car and carpool with someone else to go somewhere. That is public parking.
Parking in the lots and then going into one of the businesses – that is customer parking.
When you go to Target and park in the lot to go into the business you are leveraging customer parking. If you leave your car in the Target parking lot and go with someone into their car elsewhere you are leveraging that parking lot as if it were public parking and you could be towed in theory if they were enforcing that.
We are not discussing customer parking; that is not at issue. For these property owners to lease their spaces for people to establish businesses there they must provide some minimum level of owner, leaser, and / or customer parking.
Now onto the heart of the matter – public parking.
“135 Free PARKING SPACES”
Let’s all forget about the $500,000.00 the town is talking about investing into these private owners’ properties over the next 30 years for a moment.
On a year to year basis for DECADES the Town of Wallingford has been putting tax dollars into these properties and other private lots downtown on behalf of the tax payers in exchange for public parking use.
This has been mainly in the form of man hours from public works; plowing and sanding in the winter and other work throughout the year.
These actions and efforts have resulted in the expenditures of tax dollars.
That means these parking spaces have not been “FREE”.
With the decision as it currently rests from the vote of the Town Council, we are planning to enter into a 30 year lease with these private property owners where Wallingford will STILL be expending monies for regular maintenance and upkeep.
In addition to that, Wallingford will be investing, solely, up to $500,000.00 into period lighting, lot resurfacing, line repainting, other structural and integrity repairs without a single dime coming from any one of the four property owners.
How is this “135 Free PARKING SPACES”?
It is coming at the cost of tax dollars expended annually and other monies in lieu of taxes for capital expenditures.
How is this “135 Free PARKING SPACES”?
How is it that the main drivers of this and the Support Our Downtown movement are (primarily) our conservative leaders in town? The ones that will generally claim that they are fiscally responsible with our tax dollars. Where we cannot raise taxes to spend on this and that in this economy. They are the same ones that say that everyone is struggling and where the elderly who have gone without cost of living adjustments over the past couple of years cannot bare the burden of any higher taxes.
Where are all those fiscal conservatives these days?
That’s right – many of them are out there telling you to vote no and support the council’s decision to spend your tax dollars on this benefit. A benefit that the property owners will enjoy as equally as Downtown Wallingford will.
Without those property owners investing a single dime to the effort.
So you see folks the “FREE” in “135 Free PARKING SPACES” is just that for those four property owners in that all of this benefit they are getting for free.
Think about that before you go out to vote on election day Tuesday November 8th for who will represent you over the next two years
You will also need to think about whether the council decision should stand at referendum on Monday November 14th.
If you support the town investing the tax dollars in this manner then you will vote NO to maintain the Council’s decision to move forward.
If you are against this expenditure, where Wallingford foots the entire bill and the property owners spend nothing then you would need to vote YES to repeal the Council’s decision.
It’s your town – get informed and get involved.