Despite repeated warnings from Mayor Brian U. Stratton, City Hall employees are leaving their cars in front of Jay Street businesses all day, taking up precious customer parking spaces and not even putting money in the parking meters.
Workers said the spaces across from City Hall are more convenient than parking in the city lot, which is one block away.
Their attitude has business owners steaming mad but worried that if they complain, their City Hall customers will boycott them.
“They are my customers, too,” said Don Leva, who runs Leva’s News & Lottery. “You understand, I’m in a difficult position.”
But, he said, cars that sit in front of his store all day deter customers who drive by and would park for just a minute while they buy a newspaper.
And the problem is just going to get worse.
“As other things begin to develop here, now these spaces need to be open,” said Allan Anderson, who runs Media Well Done. “Now we have Pizza King, and the fellow next to me is finally getting to the point where he’s opening the laundromat. He needs parking.”
The business owners have quietly asked Stratton to deal with the problem, but to no avail.
Stratton said he, too, is frustrated that his employees aren’t listening to him.
“I’ve reminded our employees repeatedly at our staff meetings to leave those spaces,” he said. “I’ve told them I’d prefer they use the employee lot.”
He’s also reduced the number of “official city business” placards, which are given to employees who come and go often. Those placards allow the driver to park without paying the meter, but they’re supposed to be used when employees work at night or have a number of meetings outside the building.
“If they’re working late and they don’t want to walk unescorted [to the employee lot] at a late hour, I’ve issued them a placard,” Stratton said. “The people that are in and out of City Hall regularly have placards issued.”
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