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Latrobe parking authority to consider disbanding

| Tuesday, Nov. 29, 2016, 11:00 p.m.

Time is set to expire for Latrobe's parking authority. At a Dec. 14 special meeting, its board will consider disbanding to save the city money.

The plan is to fold the authority's responsibilities into those of the city government, city Manager Wayne Jones said. City council and state officials would have to approve the authority's termination.

“We're going to eliminate duplication of costs,” Jones said. “They have attorney fees, and they have their own audit, a lot of things we could marry with ours.”

While the city oversees on-street parking, the authority has charge of several off-street lots and a parking garage on Weldon Street that was renovated with $3 million in bonds the city issued in 2012.

Council recently refinanced the parking garage bonds, saving about $300,000 through lower interest rates.

The authority has been a good steward of parking assets and has met payments on the garage financing, Jones said. But the authority has been unable to reimburse the city for the work its staff does to help operate off-street parking.

“A lot of the maintenance was done by the city, and a portion of the billing was done by the city,” Jones said. “The loss is internal, but it's still a loss.”

Eliminating the authority as a separate entity will save about $25,000 annually, roughly offsetting that loss, Jones projected.

With the end of the authority, the parking lots would be transferred to the city at no cost, Jones said.

“It's a pretty painless process,” he said.

While authority revenue has been thin, Jones said council's parking committee has more options it can consider for generating funds. That includes reviewing meter fees and whether on-street spaces should be metered.

“We're going to have to review the whole (parking) operation,” he said.

Jeff Himler is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at 724-836-6622 or jhimler@tribweb.com.

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