Stillwater City Council to Consider Downtown Parking Lot Fee Increase

The Stillwater City Council will consider an increase of parking fees in downtown lots.

The Stillwater City Council on Tuesday will discuss a recommendation from the Parking Commission to charge $5 for all day parking in Municipal Lots 1-11 in downtown Stillwater.

Currently, the city charges $5 in Lot 1, $3 in Lot 2, and Lots 3-11 are free for 3 or 4 hours, depending on the lot.

Downtown Stillwater Parking Lot Rates Map

“The revenue raised with these rates falls short of paying for all operational and capital costs associated with the downtown parking system,” Community Development Director Bill Turnblad wrote in a memo to the council.

The Parking Commission believes that a $5 all-day rate in Lots 1-11 would be sufficient to cover all costs, Turnblad said. The Parking Commission also hopes the rate increase will also provide some funds to offset the downtown parking ramp’s negative fund balances.

The commission’s recommendation also includes starting a daytime residential pass program that would allow any Stillwater resident to park for free in any of the downtown municipal lots.

Residents would only be charged the cost of the materials for the annual windshield sticker pass.

The council first considered this Parking Commission recommendation in May 2013. At that time staff was directed to solicit comments on the proposal from the downtown business community — the Stillwater IBA, Chamber of Commerce and Convention and Visitors Bureau.

At that time, those business groups didn’t oppose the rate increase, Turnblad said, but questioned the timing of the increase saying the reconstruction projects, along with a rate increase, would be “adding insult to injury.”

In July 2013, the council tabled the recommendation, pledging to reevaluate it after parking lot construction was complete.

The Army Corps of Engineer’s flood protection improvements are complete now — and except for the bituminous overlays in Lot 10 — construction in all 11 of the impacted city parking lots is complete.

Last month, the council approved a $6,000 contract with a parking consultant to determine the best method for collecting the parking fees in the downtown parking lots.

For a total of $6,350, Denison Parking will attend all meetings related to the selection of the parking meters, handle the RFP process for parking meter vendors, review the proposals and make a recommendation to the Parking Commission.

The cost for the consulting services will be paid for out of the Parking Enterprise Fund.

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