Gillette Main Street vendors reached a compromise with the City on July 18th, to change a parking fine increase ordinance from a fee of $15, to $7. Previously the City wanted to increase the $2 fine for overstaying a 2 hour parking limit to $15, something most business owners on Gillette Avenue objected to.
John Daly, owner of Daly & Sorenson, a law office on Gillette Avenue, spoke to the Council on August 1 about how construction around the courthouse has already affected both where he and his clients can park, and their access to the courthouse.
"I own five lots either on Main Street or near Main Street," he told City Council last Tuesday. "The impact of increased parking in this parking deal is that those people move in to our off-street lots. So there's a parking problem for us. While this may satisfy some merchants on Main Street, it doesn't satisfy those of us who have businesses where people take more than two hours."
Daly cited the other law offices, the multiple banks on Main Street, and even Dunlap Photography as businesses where clients will spend more than the two hour limit. He then contrasted with how anyone can park for free for weeks at a time at Wal-Mart and other stores in the Powder Basin Shopping Center. He preferred the City either throw out the ordinance amendment, or make all parking in the City free.
"We cannot afford to go around with our two officers for $2 a ticket. It does not pay. Seven doesn't either, really, but that is the compromise," Mayor Louise Carter-King told Daly.
The City Council voted unanimously to change the parking fee to $7. A charge of $5.00 for "extended overtime" parking for each successive 30 minute period thereafter stays the same, as well as a $10 fine for not paying a parking ticket within 24 hours.
Brenda Kirk is a writer with over two decades of journalism experience.