Business Owners React to Scranton’s Proposed Parking Meter Hike

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SCRANTON -- Scranton's City Council has taken steps toward approving a price hike that's causing controversy among people who live in the city and those who just drive in for a visit.

City council is considering increasing parking meter prices to a rate you'd more likely see in a big city.

City council plans to vote next week on the potential parking meter hike. The proposal calls for raising the cost of parking at meters in some parts of the city.

Dino Puteri took three trips around Scranton's Courthouse Square before finding a spot to park Friday. He said during the day parking is at a premium downtown. Soon, he could be paying a premium price when he runs his errands.

He said the proposed price hike for parking meters in the city won't keep him from coming downtown. It's just another pain in the pocketbook.

"There are things I have to do, I guess when it comes to that, you can be kind of angry about it, but you still have to come down. For other things, it's a little discouraging," said Puteri.

Scranton City Council is considering a number of changes to the parking meter system as a way to ease the property tax burden. First, some city meters would increase from one dollar to $1.50 an hour.

Another part of city council's proposal is to extend the hours and days that people have to pay the parking meters. 

That affects a certain group of people, restaurant owners downtown, who for the first time, will have to ask customers to feed the parking meters during the dinner hour.

"I think it's just common sense, why put that extra money toward something like parking? Especially, on Saturdays when there aren't the other businesses open and it's really just the other restaurants down here," said Bill Sheakoski, owner of Pizza by Pappas restaurant.

Sheakoski said he already hears complaints from customers about the inconvenience of parking downtown. He hopes a price hike doesn't keep them away entirely.

Same thing for the owners at Backyard Ale House, Happy hour for their customers could cost an extra $1.50.

"I understand they have to do what they have to do, and the city's in debt and they have to work on that, but they have to pick their battles I guess. As to what's going to help us and what's going to hurt us," said Patrick Nasser, co-owner.

City Council members are scheduled to take their final vote at their next meeting on Thursday. Newswatch 16 talked to Councilman Pat Rogan who said he thinks the parking system should bring in more money but the cost to businesses could be too great, so he's not sure if he'll vote yes.