Should the city of Ocala stop using parking meters?
Parking meters, which can sometimes comprise an important part of many a city’s overall revenue, are scattered throughout parts of the downtown Ocala area.
According to the city, around 1,600 parking spaces are managed in the downtown Ocala area. Many of those are unmetered spaces in places like the parking garage, along Magnolia Avenue, or near City Hall and the Citizen Service Center.
The downtown square, however, is peppered with metered spaces that cost 1 cent per 1.2 minutes (i.e., a nickel for 6 minutes, a dime for 12 minutes, and a quarter for 30 minutes). Those meters collectively operate during normal business hours, i.e., 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., Monday through Friday.
Outside of those hours, even the metered spaces become free to use.
This fiscal year, the city has collected $76,945 in revenues from parking services, with just under $11,000 of that coming from “fines & forfeits,” according to the city’s budget report. The report shows revenue and expenses through April 30, 2021. The fiscal year began on October 1, 2020 and ends on September 30, 2021.
To date, the city has generated $163,645 in parking fund revenues and transfers, which includes $86,700 in “transfers from other funds.” At the same time, the city has spent $164,508 in operating expenditures.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, the city lifted meter fees in order to better enable businesses offering curbside services in the downtown Ocala area.
What do you think about the parking meters in the city? Share your thoughts with us in a letter to the editor.