The $8-an-hour, $60-a-day parking rate at the Broward County Courthouse will be discussed Tuesday by the County Commission, after Commissioner Marty Kiar asked that it be included on the agenda.
Kiar said he thinks the rate is too high, and he met with county staff about it.
In May, a new, 1,000-car garage for courthouse employees opens a block south of the courthouse, on Andrews Avenue. The approximately 900 employees who are currently parking in the juror-public garage where the $8-an-hour rate is in place will be moving out, headed to their new garage.
That's the perfect time to reduce the rate at the public garage, Kiar said.
The garage we're talking about is to the east of the courthouse, on northeast corner of Southeast Third Avenue and Southeast 6th Street.
"It's something I've always wanted to address,'' Kiar said. "I've always found it to be somewhat unfair.''
Kiar noted that at $8 an hour, the rate is higher than the minimum wage.
"It's inherently unfair,'' he said.
"It’s a taxpayer owned garage and you’re making it impossible for taxpayers to park there.''
The Sun Sentinel wrote about the parking rate last week, prompting Kiar's request that it be discussed. Click here for a memory refresher on the article, in which Commissioner Tim Ryan says he "absolutely'' would be open to reevaluating the rate, as well.
In a memo to commissioners after the Sun Sentinel story was published, Alphonso Jefferson, assistant to the county administrator, said the rate will be looked at.ere's what he wrote:
Currently, parking at the East Garage at the Main Courthouse is extremely limited. On February 28, 2006 (agenda item #5), the Board approved increasing the parking rate of the East Garage from $2.00 to $8.00 per hour to conserve parking for employees, jurors, witnesses, BSO detention employees and County employees.
As you are aware, the County is opening a 1,000 car garage (South Garage) for employees in 2014 to support the new courthouse tower that will be opening in 2015. Once this South Garage is fully operational, our plan has been to review the usage, capacity and parking rates at the East Parking Garage. We have discussed our plan with many of you as well as the Courthouse Taskforce Advisory Committee.
I am available to meet with each of you on this item to discuss further.
ALPHONSO JEFFERSON, JR.
Assistant to the County Administrator • County Administration
Kiar said waiting for the county to do a study or evaluation would take too long. When the employees move out and free up 900 more spaces, he said, the rate should go down."To me,'' he said of waiting for an evaluation, "that’s not acceptable.''