Saratoga County

Downtown parking contract bids to be opened Thursday

The city’s proposed paid parking system will be managed by an outside company, the committee charged

The city’s proposed paid parking system will be managed by an outside company, the committee charged with developing the system decided.

The special committee run by finance commissioner Ken Ivins to develop a paid parking program determined at its first meeting that an outside company should install and manage the paid parking system, rather than the city’s own workers doing it.

The committee is made up of public officials and members of the business community.

So the city has put out a request for bids for a parking management system. Bids are due Feb. 11 and will be publicly opened at 2 p.m.

The request went out to more than 17 vendors and is posted to online sites for other vendors to view, said John Franck, commissioner of accounts.

The city’s 2010 budget depends on $1.3 million in paid parking revenue in order to balance, something that finance commissioner Ken Ivins said can be achieved if paid parking is put in place by May 1.

That gives Ivins’ committee a tight time frame to come up with the details, on which the City Council must vote.

“If we’ve got to have things by May 1, we need to go through the process the council has to approve it,” Ivins said.

Franck wonders whether Ivins has the votes to pass paid parking. Time, and the bid details, will tell.

“When it comes back, everybody’s mind can change,” he added.

Ivins is scheduling another meeting for the committee for sometime after the bids are returned.

Ivins’ current proposal would require people parking on side streets downtown and in parking lots and garages to pay, while parking would be free on Broadway but limited to perhaps 15 or 30 minutes.

Downtown businesses support no paid parking on Broadway, but some critics say the plan is backward, and the parking spaces that are most in demand should be the most expensive, while parking should be cheaper in far away parking lots and garages.

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