New Hope Borough Council will postpone a decision on doubling parking meter rates scheduled for Oct. 18, instead delaying a vote until “November, December, January” or beyond, according to Borough Manager Cathryn Thomas.
“The borough can’t vote because it’s not ready,” she explained. “Bill [Scandone] is not 100% sure a proposal will be ready by Oct. 18, so it could likely be moved to a meeting in the future.” Thomas says the borough “can’t give a definitive date” on when that might be.
It remains unclear why Borough Council President Scandone announced Sept. 3 that the parking proposal may be voted upon on Oct. 18, but is now, weeks later, not prepared to do so.
Business owners, their employees, and residents of New Hope are still waiting for details to emerge on the parking meter plan. Announcement of the mammoth rate hike ignited a storm of controversy on social media, in part because it is being cast as a “consumer convenience,” rather than a municipal revenue enhancement.
New Hope’s leaders apparently could have timed their increase proposal better, too — many local businesses are reeling from a disappointing summer season, and few believe doubling their customers’ parking tab is helpful. Documents and interviews with those close to the situation suggest that the potential increase in parking meter rates has been discussed for at least a year and a half in the Revitalization Committee of New Hope Borough Council.
That committee’s leader, Joe Franlin, is a candidate for appointment to the empty borough council seat vacated by Cliff Montgomery, and will be voted on by council Oct. 18, they say.
For now, at least, Borough Hall says it won’t vote on doubling parking meter rates Oct. 18.