Rates could increase $1 per day, $20 per month

The proposal to lease Harrisburg
parking facilities to a private operator has raised fears of a big rate hike.

The proposal to lease Harrisburg
parking facilities to a private operator has raised fears of a big rate hike.

Harrisburg Public Parking, the partnership that made the
$215 million offer, has not disclosed details of its plans, but it has offered
a hint of what it has in mind.

The company told city consultants it wants to increase rates
twice in the first two years of the lease, according to a document summarizing
the three bids the city considered.

The proposed contract between Harrisburg Public Parking and
the city gives the partnership free reign to hike rates. Average monthly rates
could be raised 100 percent every six months for the life of the 75-year deal,
according to the contract. Increases downtown would likely be followed by hikes
on City Island, which would stay under the
city’s control. That’s because the contract calls for the rate differential
between the two areas to remain the same.

Harrisburg Mayor Stephen R. Reed on Friday dismissed the prospect
of massive rate hikes.

“Who in their right mind is going to increase their parking
rates 100 percent year after year?” he said. The contract provision is
boilerplate language, he said. He added that many businesses have long-term
contracts for parking that would carry over to the new operator.

The contract provision that permits the company to raise
rates 100 percent every six months only gives the company a boundary to work
within, said Jacob A. Frydman, president of HPP.

The company would tack on ‘modest’ increases immediately,
but nothing close to 100 percent increases, he said.

It costs $18 daily to park in a Harrisburg Parking Authority garage, $120 per
month for a non-reserved space and $165 for a reserved spot. Hourly rates are
$3 for two hours or less; $5 for three hours, $6 for four hours and $7 for five
hours or less. It costs $14 to park for five to 11 hours.

If HPP takes over, Frydman envisions daily rates immediately
going up $1 per day and monthly rates increasing by between $15 and $20, he
said. Hourly rates could increase $1 across the board, too, Frydman said.

“Under state law a (garage operator) cannot charge more than
the market rate,” Frydman said. “(The rate) provision is not intended to allow
HPP to raise rates. It’s what HPA sets as boundaries. In other states it’s
unlimited. In Chicago,
there are no restrictions.”

Garage operations would still be governed by HPA, which
means the authority would have to approve rate increases before they are
implemented, he said.

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