Sunday, May 7, 2017

Downtown Davidson parking study on Tuesday agenda...garage cost = $7 million

At Tuesday's Board meeting, Davidson Commissioners will get an update on a current parking assessment completed by Stantec as part of the public facilities study being completed.

When aShortChronicle told readers about the $17 million price tag for a proposed new Town Hall and other work, that did not include the costs for a possible parking garage.  According to the presentation in the agenda, that cost would be an additional $7 million.  At $193k per penny on the property tax rate for the upcoming FY2018 budget, that would require raising the tax rate just at 3 cents which is a little less than 9% (Stantec may have been using last year's numbers to get the 10% mentioned below.

Fortunately, in the rest of the presentation there are numerous options for increasing parking in the short term at much less cost.  These include working to get limited access to private lots (DUMC and the College) to support the Farmers Market as well as several efforts to increase the number of spaces by converting from parallel to reverse angle parking along downtown streets.

However, all of these things come at a cost albeit way less than $7 million.  If the town goes forward with any of these it should consider reinstating the Municipal Service District tax on downtown businesses to cover the costs rather than simply raising the property tax rate on all property owners.  Davidson dropped this tax from 14 cents to zero in its FY2011 budget to provide relief during the economic crisis.  That tax had brought in about $50,000 per year prior to being cut back.  That would go a long way to paying any finance charges incurred to make these non-parking garage related improvements.

View the whole parking presentation here.

Bonus Observation: The public facilities documentation including this parking presentation does not mention that the 25 spaces in front of the existing Town Hall will be lost if the proposed new Town Hall and couryard is built.  That means the proposed expansion of the existing Jackson Street lot i  the proposed plan just gets us back to even.  They arent new additional spots.

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