Champaign County Board panel OKs rate increase for courthouse parking lot

Champaign County Board panel OKs rate increase for courthouse parking lot

URBANA — Next year, the cost of parking in the lot next to the Champaign County Courthouse might increase.

It has taken a divided county board facilities committee two months and three motions to reach Wednesday night's decision — to recommend an increase in parking lot fees, effective Jan. 2.

Motorists using that parking lot currently pay 25 cents for the first hour and 50 cents for every hour after.

An October vote to raise the parking rate to $1 per hour vote resulted in a 2-2 tie. Because three committee members were absent then, the group decided to postpone its decision.

On Wednesday, county board member Pranjal Vachaspati made a motion to set the rate at 50 cents an hour.

"This is the same rate you pay at the parking meters out on the street," Vachaspati said.

But after committee members expressed concerns about generating more money to maintain the lot, Vachaspati's motion died for lack of a second.

A third motion, this time by board member Jack Anderson, to raise the rate to 50 cents per hour for the first two hours and $1 per hour thereafter, was better received.

It passed by a 4-1 vote, with only Vachaspati objecting. The full county board must ratify the new rates for them to take effect.

County Facilities Director Dana Brenner said a new pay station for the lot should be installed by Dec. 28, with the new rates going into effect on Jan. 2, once approved.

He said the courthouse parking lot has 109 total spaces, with 47 reserved for staff, 57 for public use and five for handicapped-accessible parking.

According to Brenner, parking lot fees generate about $25,000 a year at the current 25 cent-per-hour rate.

"You would think going from 25 cents to 50 cents would double that amount, but it is too early to tell," Brenner said.