Alderman Joe Moore (D-49) will provide the Park District with $89,000 a year for three years to prevent his constituents from paying overnight parking fees at the park district's Loyola and Leone parking lots.
The Park District previously approved a 25 cents an hour overnight fee to all lakefront lots to help create revenue to balance the current $10-12 million deficit.
Moore spoke out against the fees. He proposed paying the fees with money from a stipend that aldermen get each year from the city to pay for infrastructure improvements in their wards. This will keep the lots free at night, he said.
“I’m not thrilled with it, but I think it’s important for my constituents,” says Moore, “in these dire economic times we’re left with nothing but hard choices.”
The compromise also included keeping daytime parking at a dollar an hour from 9am until 7pm. at the two lots.
“It’s imperfect but I think it’s creative,” says Kirk Markus who lives in the 49th ward and uses the Loyola lot.
The Board President Gery Chico tipped his hat to Moore saying it’s a win-win for everyone.
“Unfortunately revenues are very slow right now and we’re all part of the same economy,” says Chico.
The Park District is facing a deficit due to a troubled economy and initiated the overnight fees as a way to make up for the shortcomings, budget officer Tanya Anthony says.
“If corporations are shut down they’re not generating revenue and they’re not paying the taxes that we’re getting,” she says.
The taxes from corporations are one of the largest sources of income for the Park District.
Anthony says the board tries to avoid raising day camp fees to allow access for all residents.
Chico says the Park District had to consider difficult decisions in order to maintain the quality of their services.
“I think it’s a good compromise, our desire is not to hurt people,” says Chico.