Parking Revenues Are Behind Says Borough's Mid-Year Report
While other areas of revenue are up, parking revenue is currently 10 percent below where it should be in the Borough, according to the second quarter revenue report. As of June, the Borough had only realized $830,580 of the total $2,050,105 expected for 2004.
This is partly due to the delayed opening of the Spring Street garage. which was scheduled to open in December, said Borough Administrator Bob Bruschi at a July 27 Council meeting. Once Princeton University students leave for the summer and other regular downtown visitors begin going on vacation, it is much harder to attract patrons, he said: "I don't think we could have picked a worse time to open the garage."
However, when the town starts buzzing again toward the end of summer, the Borough administrator expects that the municipality will be promoting the garage and should make up the loss in parking revenue before the end of the year.
Council recently passed up one opportunity to increase parking revenue when it voted 5 to 1 against introducing an ordinance that would extend parking meter hours from 7 to 9 p.m. on weekdays and would add hours on Sundays, from noon to 5 p.m. The ordinance was voted down after several Borough merchants complained of business losses in recent months due to downtown redevelopment, and expressed their concern that business would be further depleted if meter hours were extended.
In May, Council voted unanimously to increase parking revenue by $50,000 in 2004 and $200,000 in 2005; this was introduced due to the 12-cent tax increase for 2004 that brought taxes up to 84 cents per $100 of assessed valuation of land.
Council has not yet passed an ordinance that would allow the additional $50,000 in parking revenue to be realized in 2004.
In other areas of revenue, the Borough is at or above the desired 50 percent level, having received 53 percent of the municipal court fees and $7,000 over the projected $447,900 in uniform construction code fees for the year. Construction code fees are all the monies the Borough receives from building, fire, electrical, and plumbing permits.
According to Mr. Bruschi, the reason the revenue is so high by mid-year is because the Borough cannot anticipate more revenue from any one area than it had received the year before.
Council is expected to meet in September to discuss budget cuts for 2005.