Lawmakers forward bill dealing with parking after LexPark rate hike

Lawmakers forward bill dealing with parking after LexPark rate hike
Published: Mar. 1, 2023 at 3:17 PM EST
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LEXINGTON, Ky. (WKYT) - State lawmakers are considering a bill that deals with recent rate hikes and issues with parking in downtown Lexington.

Senate Bill 75 comes after the Lexington Parking Authority raised rates and the hours for parking fees to be collected.

Some of that was rolled back, but Senator Damon Thayer, R-Georgetown, says the bill would set guidelines for local governments to approve future increases.

Sen. Thayer says he heard a lot of complaints from those in downtown Lexington. Mainly from business owners, those who work and park frequently in the downtown area.

“But I thought the rate increases that were brought to my attention were pretty extreme,” said Senator Damon Thayer, R-Georgetown.

Sen. Thayer says a lot of business owners, some speaking on behalf of customers and employees, cried foul when parking became more expensive.

While, again, some of the changes were rolled back, Thayer says his bill would require the City of Lexington to step in to approve future increases and budgets.

“My longtime position has been, anytime there is a body spending public money someone elected by voters needs to have final approval over that. All about accountability,” Sen. Thayer said.

The measure passed the committee 7 to 1 with one pass.

James Frazier, the Lexington Parking Authority chairman, says the increases came about because of increased expenses and less revenue but says they did roll back some of the recent changes.

“We now have in our by-laws that we are required to take any potential rate increase to the government, Lexington Fayette Urban County Government, at least 60 days ahead of time,” Frazier said.

Senator Thayer says this bill is only written for the Lexington situation but he can add a floor amendments if other cities want to be included in it.

The bill now goes to the full Senate floor.