Commission Wants to Explore Parking Meter Changes in Ford City

Ford City Planning Commission Secretary Richard Wakefield said the group is studying the need for parking meters in Ford City.

FORD CITY – The Ford City Planning Commission is looking at the need for parking meters in the town.

Planning Commission Secretary Richard Wakefield said his group wants to study the revenue received from parking meters.

“We’re looking to review the whole ordinance on parking. We started it about a year ago, but put it aside while we went after the master plan and total zoning ordinance. Some businesses have two-hour free parking in front of it while another business just one block away has a meter.”

They ran up against a wall when the financial records did not separate parking fines from meter income.

“We asked that question and received an answer that (the Borough financial report) cannot differentiate meter money from fines, from street sweeping fines, etc. That was new information that we heard.”

In July 2017, the Kittanning Paper requested information from Ford City Police Chief Michael Greenlee in the financial breakdown. That information was not immediately available.

Greenlee now says the issue has been remedied, but Councilman Tyson Klukan could not find it on his financial reports.

Wakefield acknowledged that there is revenue coming in from parking meters, and that making changes could have adverse effects on Borough income.

Ford City Police Chief Michael Greenlee said changes to the parking ordinance requires proper notice, and cannot be immediately or temporarily changed.

“We want to test the effect of the revenue stream – how much money are we getting out of these meters. If we take money away, somehow the Borough has to deal with that. We wanted to do a test run December until January to see what the effect is on the revenue so we know what we are dealing with, and then go back in and review that ordinance.”

Wakefield suggested making two-hour parking throughout the Borough or just give free parking during the entire month of December. December was chosen because the Borough normally gives free parking throughout the two-week holiday season between Christmas and New Years to attract customers to shop in Ford City.

“We chose December because it’s that time of year where we could be nice and offer free parking. I think I will go back to our Planning Commission and say ‘we missed the opportunity. We couldn’t do this fast enough and correctly. You don’t want to do something wrong.”

Greenlee said it is not possible without changing the ordinance to just move to two-hour parking borough-wide.

“You have to have proper signage so the people know it has changed to two-hour. There has to be public notification (for a period of time). But we can choose to stop enforcing it for that period of time. If we want free parking, it should just be free parking across the board for the Christmas season.”

No decision was made by Council on offering free parking, but it is anticipated the topic of free parking for the two-week holiday period will be on the agenda for the December 11th public meeting at 6:30 PM.