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Out-of-towners could face higher parking fees

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Non-residents could face higher fees to park in city garages and parking lots under an idea floated at the Evanston City Council’s meeting Monday night.

As aldermen offered suggestions for how to raise more revenue to close a budget gap, Assistant City Manager Marty Lyons suggested boosting parking rates for people who don’t live here

Lyons suggested that many other communities with substantial communter parking space, including Oak Park, charge higher rates to non-residents.

Alderman Eleanor Revelle, 7th Ward, said she liked the idea of higher non-resident rates, but Mayor Steve Hagerty cautioned that the city should get feedback from local business owners before making such a change.

It their out-of-town employees would have to pay more, it could create issues with employee retention, Hagerty suggested.

Alderman Melissa Wynne, 3rd Ward, suggested approaching Northwestern University to try to pressure students to pay their city parking tickets before they graduate. Wynne said she’s confident the school doesn’t let them graduate without paying off any university parking tickets they may have accumulated.

Alderman Judy Fiske, 1st Ward, suggested ending free parking at meters on Sundays, and Deputy City Manager Erika Storlie said if regular rates applied for Sunday parking in the city garages and at parking meters the city might raise an additional $850,000 in annual revenue, but it would also incur some additional cost for parking enforcement operations.

Alderman Don Wilson, 4th Ward, said he wouldn’t support charging for meters on Sundays, but said he’d consider increasing parking rates to be $1 an hour citywide — eliminating the current $0.75 rate in neighborhood shopping districts. The $1 rate already applies downtown.

Alderman Peter Braithwaite, 2nd Ward, suggested raising fines levied in the city’s administrative adjudication system.

And Alderman Tom Suffredin, 6th Ward, suggested considering reporting traffic tickets to credit bureaus as a way of pressuring scofflaws to pay up.

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