Where there are meters, there will be higher parking fees—except on parts of West Marshall Street.
Norristown Municipal Council did not heed to requests made by residents and business owners alike to leave the fees as they were.
Ordinance Number 11-14 to raise the fee from $1.50 per hour to $2 per hour in order to be more consistent with other meters already charging $2 passed by one vote during Tuesday’s municipal council meeting at . Voting in favor of the increase were council members Cathy Lawrence, Mary DeSouza and Marlon Millner. Council members Gary Simpson and Bill Procyson voted against the increase. Council president Linda Christian and council member William Caldwell were not present for the meeting.
The meters on part of West Marshall Street will remain $1.50 per hour because they are in a more residential area.
According to the ordinance, the suggestion to raise the fee came from the ; however, calls made by Patch.com to contact the department to explain why the recommendation was made went unreturned.
During the Aug. 16 council meeting, Simpson referred to the meters as “revenue generators” and “people movers.” He stated that it would allow for more business traffic in the area and said businesses actually suffer when motorists park too long in a single spot. Yet he voted against the ordinance.
“I support the fee increase but did not support the increase as an ordinance. I preferred to see it increased by resolution not an ordinance. By doing it with an ordinance, if we want to change it we have to advertise it, which is a waste of municipal funds,” Simpson said.
According to Solicitor Sean Kilkenny, council could have passed the fee increase via a resolution and saved the municipality the expense of advertising an ordinance—an oversight admittedly made by Municipal Administrator Dave Forrest.
A motion was brought to the floor to table the item so that it could be reintroduced at the next meeting as a resolution but failed to pass.
Bill Procyson stated he was not in favor of the fee increase by ordinance because he wasn’t sure the increase was in the best interest of local businesses after hearing public comment from Joel M. Eigen, owner of on the 500 block of West Marshall Street.
Procyson stated he would be more in favor of a resolution so that if the fee increase did not work out it would be easier to change back with a resolution.
Eigen, who is a Norristown resident and business owner for the past 17 years, came to the council meeting to make public comment against the increase and submit a petition signed by like-minded individuals.
“I am part of a nascent business organization currently being pulled together that vehemently opposes this policy. This evening, I submitted petitions with 153 signatures of businesses, residents and customers,” Eigen said.
“Further, I did have a long-term but past career in traffic and transportation planning, including doing studies and reports on parking issues. For these reasons, along with others not stated, I am strongly opposed to the meter proposal given,” Eigen said. “In addition, my other reason [is the] the poor communication with residents, business owners and customers leading to this decision.”
He also said, “Their refusal to consider the many other alternatives available, including creating more parking spaces as well as choosing a more appropriate parking rate, such as downtown Ambler charges only 50 cents an hour with one, two, and four hour limits. I consider this a [bad] decision and potentially disastrous to the business communities.”
According to the ordinance, the fee increase will be effective five days following its legal enactment.