First reported 9/14/2010 11:40 p.m.

The Village of Oak Park is considering hiking what it costs to park in the community next year. The goal, says the village, is to bring parking revenues more in line with expenses.

The proposal is for quarterly parking permits to increase by an average of $9 per quarter. Oak Park also wants to raise what it costs to park in public garages. Those who want to park in a structure for four to 10 hours will see that expense increase from $8 to $10. And the maximum daily fee would jump from $10 to $15.

Three out of the four public garages owned by the village are hemorrhaging money, according to Interim Parking Manager Cara Pavlicek (only the Lake and Forest garage turned a profit in 2009). Holley Court ran a deficit of $723,225 last year, $858,156 at the Avenue parking garage, and $571,067 at the high school garage. Those losses factor in the debt taken on to build or upgrade the structures.

Pavlicek said that the increases won’t put a dent in those deficits, only raising an extra $250,000 each year assuming that usage stays the same, but it will push the village in the right direction.

“I think this is a very modest increase, and I think it should help us balance the cost of providing those parking spaces to begin with,” Pavlicek said.

Rates for quarterly permits were last raised about a year ago by $10 to $15 per quarter, while daily garage rates went up last in 2008.

Pat Zubak, the executive director of the Downtown Oak Park Business Association, says she understands raising rates in garages to control usage. However, she disagrees with doing so to retire debt.

“To raise rates to retire a parking debt is something that I’m not necessarily on board with,” she said, later adding, “My concern, at least in the business districts, is creating unintended consequences with raising rates.”

Parking rate hikes will be discussed by the village board later this fall as part of Oak Park’s 2011 budget process. If approved, the higher rates would go into effect Jan. 1.

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