Weigh impact of fees

The role of local government should be to provide the best possible services at the most reasonable cost.

The role of local government should not be to simply collect fees for no apparent reason.

Nashua Board of Aldermen members are now considering an ordinance that would hike the monthly cost to park in the Elm Street and High Street garages to $60. Currently, the city charges $30 per month for rooftop parking at the garages, or $45 monthly for parking in the covered portions of the structures.

The same ordinance would also increase the fee for parking on municipal surface lots from $50 per month to $65 per month as of Jan. 1.

The ordinance, 18-030, states officials believe they can expect a haul of $178,000 next year for increasing these fees. It doesn’t stop there, however.

The same ordinance states the cost for garage parking will jump to $75 per month for any and all spaces in the garages as of Jan. 1, 2021.

The sponsor of this legislation is Alderman Brandon Michael Laws.

“The entire point of this was just to get it up to market rate because everywhere around us is charging more than double than we’re charging for monthly lease parking,” Laws said during the Tuesday BOA meeting.

After some discussion during the Tuesday session, board members voted to send the ordinance to the Personnel and Administrative Affairs Committee for more work.

The comments Laws made Tuesday trouble us. If he or other board members presented an actual case for why the increase is needed, such as to pay for repairs or upgrades to the garages, we would not be so troubled.

Instead, Laws seems to be, in essence, saying, “We’re the government. We’re going to get this extra money because we can.”

We believe Laws owes city residents, business owners and those who commute to downtown for work and pay to park in the garages, a better explanation for hiking these fees than he has heretofore provided.

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