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Sandpoint, Diamond ponder parking partnership

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Posted: Thursday, October 4, 2012 10:00 am

SANDPOINT — With the disbanding of the police department’s municipal enforcement office, city officials are investigating a private partnership to manage parking.

At a snappy council meeting Wednesday night, members spent the majority of their time examining a contract proposed by Diamond Parking Services to fill the parking enforcement void. While the service would require city subsidization, it would cost less than police municipal enforcement and has the potential to generate revenue for the city.

“These guys would be down there all day and aggressively enforcing to make sure (downtown employees) aren’t taking up these parking spaces,” City Treasurer Shannon Syth said.

As a private business, Diamond Parking Services employees would be able to maintain a constant presence downtown during their service hours. In their service proposal to the city, company officials suggest making a few changes to maximize convenience and revenue.

The company would purchase install a pay station called the LUKE, an advanced piece of equipment that can accept several forms of payment, send text messages to customers’ mobile phones when parking is about to expire and offer an option to add more time remotely. In addition, Diamond Parking Services would handle the purchase and installation of new signs and all necessary labor.

According to the company’s suggestions, city officials have a few options when considering parking fees. The service proposal recommends eliminating free parking on Saturday and Sunday and establishing a monthly parking rate of $29 in the city lot. In addition, the plan suggests eliminating free two-hour parking if city officials are interested in raising more revenue. Street parking would retain two hours of free parking.

The plan also recommends establishing a $2 fee for up to two hours and a $4 fee for up to 10 hours of parking in the new Sand Creek parking lot. A $39 price tag is suggested for a monthly parking pass.

In terms of revenue, Diamond Parking officials propose the company keep the first $2,500 every month to cover costs. Eighty percent of additional revenue would go to the city, while Diamond Parking would keep 20 percent. As for parking enforcement, the company has a set fee of $4,825 per month to provide service with all parking citation revenue going to the city.

Council members used their time Wednesday to review the service proposal but didn’t take any action on the matter. City staff will develop a contract to be approved or disregarded at a future meeting. While many members were excited by the possibility of revenue from the service, they also emphasized keeping parking costs at a consumer and business-friendly level.

“This is a big shift on how we’re doing parking enforcement, and there’s a potential cost to consumers,” Councilman Justin Schuck said.

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  • Here's What I Say posted at 7:48 am on Sun, Oct 7, 2012.

    Here's What I Say Posts: 1240

    No worries, parking is still free all over Ponderay which has super markets, box stores, clothing and appliances stores, drug stores, and al sorts of services. It's close enough not to matter if we shop there too. Here's hoping Ponderay doesn't impose a local option tax too for that would make shopping for anything much more expensive than PR or Oldtown. There's no tax on food in Newport's Safeway either. All savings when shopping do matter, especially to the many low income people here. Tax and spend Republicans and their hired dogs don't care about us either locally or nationally.

  • Queenie posted at 7:36 am on Sun, Oct 7, 2012.

    Queenie Posts: 379

    At what cost will this be for the People who are already in hard economic times?

    How will single mothers afford to shop for their children in Sandpoint if they have to pay for parking?

    Does it appear to anyone that the City of Sandpoint and the Officials running it have any regard for the People who live here?

    Does it appear to anyone that the City of Sandpoint and the Officials running things even care to listen to and put merrit in what anyone else has to say about things?

    Just two examples would be the parking and the hiring of the new Police Chief. They like to keep things secret and spring it on us after they already have made their decision. Then to appear fair and responsive they listen with deaf ears. They are all very good politicians in avoiding any kind of accountability to the people they are supposedly serving.

    I say Impeach the Mayor and change the job classifications specifications of THE CITY ATTORNEY. Then maybe we will start to see changes that will benefit everyone including the people who live here and their children and grandchildren.

    Our City and County Officials are running rampant without any accountability because of the "Good Old boy" network that needs to be busted up this election season!

  • Queenie posted at 10:33 pm on Sat, Oct 6, 2012.

    Queenie Posts: 379

    Bill it does not matter what you say to City Council. They have deaf ears and so does this Mayor. This will continue to snoball unless we people require that our City Council take charge.


  • Queenie posted at 10:30 pm on Sat, Oct 6, 2012.

    Queenie Posts: 379

    What City Official would that be Jason? Would it be the CITY ATTORNEY? What were his actions at the meetings? DId he appear as if he controlled everything the Mayor did and said? From my experience he runs the show.

  • Queenie posted at 10:24 pm on Sat, Oct 6, 2012.

    Queenie Posts: 379

    Trying to speak at City Council meetings is a waste of time. The Mayor [with the aid of the CITY ATTORNEY] may cut you off at there discretion even after you have prepared and followed all the rules for speaking based on what she thinks you are going to say.

    Actually it does not matter when you try and talk to THE CITY COUNCIL or the MAYOR.


  • SugarShane posted at 9:49 pm on Sat, Oct 6, 2012.

    SugarShane Posts: 200

    We have them in Spokane and Cheney, they are bad, as in will nail you with a fine for not paying or being late, and if you don't pay it they send it to collections. They charge more than the metered parking. It's all profit driven, hand it over to a corporation that wants to make money and deals with it as opposed to paying for enforcement.

  • Corey Greve posted at 8:25 pm on Sat, Oct 6, 2012.

    Corey Greve Posts: 977

    I always suspected that Diamond parking was no good. Now I have confirmation. I have dealt with them in very major city in the West. No thanks.

    Bill, I would guess that there are contracts in place that make it valid for a citizen to write a parking violation. Diamond has been in business long enough to cover their own behinds on this issue. I am sure that Diamond pays the employee's salary in court, if they decide that the ticket is worth fighting for.

  • Bill Litsinger posted at 8:14 pm on Sat, Oct 6, 2012.

    Bill Litsinger Posts: 1394

    How does one go about challenging the validity of a citation written by a private person?? Can you plead not guilty and take it to court? Who pays the Diamond Parking employee while they are in court??

  • Luv83864 posted at 5:25 pm on Sat, Oct 6, 2012.

    Luv83864 Posts: 702

    Is there any parking enforcement right now? Without parking being monirotred at all it's is going to get very out control quickly, the employees who don't want to walk won't, they get a paycheck either way, it is the businesses that will be hurt. No questions asked. If they end up going through with this absurd idea, there should be a certain amount of time with no charge. maybe 45 minutes to 2 hours, enough time to do some Holiday shopping, birthday shopping and/or have lunch yet close wnough employees and certain store owners cant move their cars and play muscial parking. The parking issues (employees parking in streets) will be harder to corral the longer it goes it goes without any reinforcement.

  • Jason Smith posted at 5:02 am on Sat, Oct 6, 2012.

    Jason Smith Posts: 68

    One last thought, Diamond Parking in Billings Mt would write you a ticket at the courthouse for not paying $3.00 for 5 min and if ticket was not paid in 30 days you would be turned in to collections, at a public tax funded building. I would rather put change in a meter and the city's pocket than Diamonds and the one official in Sandpoint who obviously is looking out for his personal interest.

  • Jason Smith posted at 4:52 am on Sat, Oct 6, 2012.

    Jason Smith Posts: 68

    Lets just ask Sandpoint to bend over! What next pay to park at our public funded city beach, the county courthouse, tow your car at a charge of $300. This will not create jobs but Diamond will have a person in a box taking your money for a private company that is privately owned by one person. The city is debating pay raises, yet passing this stupid idea. Who's pocket is getting lined? Let the town make the money from parking meters. Whoever brought this stupid idea to light should be fired. Diamond will buy parking lots then later sell them to private buissneses at a large profit. This is one reason Billings Mt ousted Diamond Parking and put meters back in, created jobs, revenue. etc. What next a toll booth at the long bridge?

  • LawrenceFury posted at 1:00 pm on Fri, Oct 5, 2012.

    LawrenceFury Posts: 828

    There is nothing for me downtown and thus I never shop there. The last time I did, bought a shirt at Larson's that was twice what I would have paid at Penny's and BOTH were made in Indonesia.

    As for city council turnout. Most that used to go have found out that the council may humor people who want to speak out against something that the council have already decided on and no it's a waste of their time, especially if it's on a work night.

  • Helen Newton posted at 10:48 am on Fri, Oct 5, 2012.

    Helen Newton Posts: 537

    Sounds Republican, Bill? Is that what you're saying? If so, could be. Here's the Sandpoint elected officials line up: Mayor Ogilvie and Councilman Eddy are both registered Republicans and both voted in the May primary. Councilman Rognstad is a registered Republican but did not vote in the primary. Council members Qualls, Brunner and Schuck are "unaffiliated" and none of the three voted in the primary. Councilwoman Logan is the only registered Democrat and she did vote in the primary. So with three out of the seven registerd Republicans, only one registered as a Democrat, and three "unaffiliated", chances are good that city government leans heavily toward Republican thinking..... so maybe that explains it.... Don't know. Just saying....

  • hemingway posted at 9:20 am on Fri, Oct 5, 2012.

    hemingway Posts: 14

    You are going to kill downtown with this. I'm not paying to park downtown, sorry to all the downtown bussineses. Look at all the empty buildings downtown, maybe Sandpoint is doing something wrong. Anyway, with the "Heavey Handed" police dept. on DUI pulling poeple over for nothing, you people have chased to many from downtown already. Get real!

  • Bill Litsinger posted at 9:46 pm on Thu, Oct 4, 2012.

    Bill Litsinger Posts: 1394

    @Helen Newton - post of 8:50 p.m. Re: eliminating police department positions to hire private contractor. Isn't that what Wynhausen complains about all the time, Republicans driving down wages by hiring the cheapest possible labor ? Why pay benefits and retirement if you can hire someone for less? Sounds Republican!!

    Maybe locals should share their thoughts about this pending contract with Diamond with the local business owners and make a stand. I plan on doing so.

    The two civilians that were let go did a lot more than just write parking tickets.

  • Helen Newton posted at 8:50 pm on Thu, Oct 4, 2012.

    Helen Newton Posts: 537

    Those positions were eliminated by the mayor and city council effective October 1, 2012. The article explains that the city's logic was that it will cost less to contract with Diamond than it cost for those two employees.

  • Luv83864 posted at 8:14 pm on Thu, Oct 4, 2012.

    Luv83864 Posts: 702

    If I had to pay even $2 to park and go to Finan McDonald the 6 times a year I go there, I would not go. I will not pay $2 to park to buy locally. If the business owners provided parking permits for themselves and employees this would not be an issue. Even of they split he monthly permit coat with their employee. I see Sandpoint Salon stylists parked on First Ave all day. It makes it nearly impossible to find parking for Starbucks and Kandies. Parking those 6 times a year I go to Larson's and Finan. I spend about $100 to $250 a time. I would simply utilize the Internet and avoid downtown. $2 for two hours is a ridiculous rate but I don't even want to go there.
    Does this save money? Or it cost more money? How long would they be contracted? What will happens to the parking cops we have now?

  • Bill Litsinger posted at 5:16 pm on Thu, Oct 4, 2012.

    Bill Litsinger Posts: 1394

    Information only: Diamond Parking is a large corporation that serves both small and super large cities.

    I have only spoken to a couple of businesses about this. They are not impressed with increased pay parking. I agree that many of these decisions are made prior to any public input. Sometimes the best public input is to vote with your actions not with your 3 minute comment.

    As the blog of 5:01 p.m. said, What does Sandpoint have that one really NEEDS?

  • Idahome posted at 5:01 pm on Thu, Oct 4, 2012.

    Idahome Posts: 218

    Wow, what a bad idea....make that, two bad ideas. Requiring people to pay for parking in Sandpoint simply is not warranted and, if imposed, will backfire. There is not a single business, other than Bonner General Hospital, that I can't do without. Hiring an impersonal, outside company such as Diamond Parking is even worse. If Coeur d'Alene can provide free parking, certainly Sandpoint can. Wait a minute, is this all an "October Fools" prank?

  • wilson posted at 4:49 pm on Thu, Oct 4, 2012.

    wilson Posts: 1184

    As I understand it, at the Council meetings a person is given 3 minutes to comment, and there is no interchange with the Council members on any issue. They have already made up their minds in private sessions (is that against open meeting laws?) so what is the use of wasting our time?

  • Queenie posted at 4:39 pm on Thu, Oct 4, 2012.

    Queenie Posts: 379

    Is Diamond a local company.....lets give our business to a local business owner.

  • posted at 2:11 pm on Thu, Oct 4, 2012.


    I won't mind paying to park in Sandpoint as long as the new parking stalls are all back in and the Diamond employees help me park and get unmarked after they give me my ticket.

  • Helen Newton posted at 1:29 pm on Thu, Oct 4, 2012.

    Helen Newton Posts: 537

    Meanwhile, is all parking free downtown since there are no municipal enforcement officers on duty? It would seem so. The city's MEO's also handled animal control. With the elimination of these two positions, I suspect that animal control issues will not be a high priority for the remaining employees in the police department. I have expressed my opposition to the elimination of these two positions because it was terribly short sighted of our city administration - but to no avail. It's tough, Bill, to have to keep going back and repeating our opinions - after a time or two of not being listened to, people generally give up.

    For the most part I expect that people who are actually shopping or having lunch downtown can get that accomplished in two hours which is still free. It is downtown employees who have taken advantage of the two hours onstreet and in the lot who will impacted the most. I predict this is not going to be good for business. But Diamond is a business and has to operate like one to stay in business. We were in Spokane last week at Interplayers and used Diamond's lot there. It was convenient, the computerized equipment was very easy to use, and it wasn't prohibitively expensive - however, yes, I know - that was in the big city - and we go there only about once every 2 or 3 years.

    Time will tell but I'm glad the city council is at least taking their time with this one because there will be ramifications!

  • Bill Litsinger posted at 12:30 pm on Thu, Oct 4, 2012.

    Bill Litsinger Posts: 1394

    I was at the council meeting last night. Pathetic turnout. There were only two people at the meeting. I've attended the last 5 council meetings. Those that show up are for the most part single issue people. i don't like the idea of Diamond Parking either, but if you don't complain, the council members don't know how you feel anout issues. I will NEVER pay to park in Sandpoint. Other places want my money and they provide free parking.

  • LakeViewer posted at 11:36 am on Thu, Oct 4, 2012.

    LakeViewer Posts: 936

    That's all Sandpoint needs is a parking company interested in profit, harassing downtown customers. You can count me out as a patron of businesses there if this becomes reality.

  • Perki posted at 10:27 am on Thu, Oct 4, 2012.

    Perki Posts: 661

    The first time I have to "pay" to park in Sandpoint to shop will be the last cent any business there ever gets from me.