Parking Dilemma in Hazleton

HAZLETON -- A proposal to cut the number of hours that you have to pay to park in Hazleton has the mayor's office and city council at odds.

City council wants to reduce parking meter hours downtown, but the mayor says the city cannot afford to be that generous.

Hazleton is already questioning if it will be able to make payroll for city employees through the end of the year, so the mayor says Hazleton just can't afford to lose any revenue.

City council says the current meter situation is hurting local businesses that can't afford a loss either.

"I think the 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. is hurting downtown," said council president Jack Mundie.

Businesses like Jimmy's Quick Lunch on Broad Street have been complaining to the city that the long meter hours and strict enforcement are deterring customers.

"I've had breakfast people come in three or four times a week, they were customers, all it took was one ticket and they ran out of town mad. The other day I had another gentleman get a ticket and he said he will never come downtown again," said Jimmy's owner James Grohol.

That's part of the reason why city council has proposed and will take the first vote Wednesday night on reducing meter parking hours.

The proposal is to have parking hours from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. instead of the current hours of 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Also being proposed is eliminating putting money in meters on Saturdays.

City council is hoping to get some figures from the mayor on how much revenue could be lost with reduced meter hour. Then council is expected to have it first vote on the parking meter proposal at the council meeting Wednesday night.

The proposal would have to be voted on three times to pass.