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Community meeting about downtown parking rates set for Wednesday evening

At the February 22nd Parking Advisory Commission (PAC) meeting, officials came up with a new proposal regarding downtown parking meter rates and tickets to recommend to the City Commission.

On Wednesday, the PAC held a noon community outreach meeting before they plan to go to a City Commission work session meeting in April.

At the community outreach meeting, the City of Great Falls Director of Planning and Community Development Craig Raymond talked about the new proposal.

The proposal includes: increasing all parking meters to $1 per hour, allowing one lifetime courtesy per license plate for the first offense, then a fine structure starting at $5 for the second offense, $10 for the third offense, $20 on fourth and every future offense.

The fine structure will re-set back to $5 every year on January 1.

The proposal also includes a $470,000 Tax Increment Finance (TIF) request and estimated $391,000 from reserve funds to complete a project list.

The main reason for the increase in parking meters is due to the needed maintenance in the parking garages and surface lots.

With these new proposed recommendations, anticipated revenue increases will be around $219.743 for on street meters, assuming a 3% attrition. By eliminating a yearly courtesy ticket, revenue will be around $38,702, assuming level ticket issuance and collection rate. With the new fine structure, assuming level ticket issuance revenue increase will be around $1,535.

Craig Raymond said, “We’re at a critical point where we’re having some real issues because of the lack of maintenance. That’s why at this point we’re trying to be very aggressive with our recommendations to take care of that problem, all of the maintenance problems we have now but also budgeting the future for future maintenance.”

The main issues stem from water intrusion problems near electrical boxes, sheet rock degrading and water cascading down the walls. Another issue is with door frames rusting and rotting and doors not closing correctly.

For new energy and safety improvements, the PAC will replace lighting with a new energy efficient LED lighting system that will provide a substantial energy cost savings, an estimated $17,000 per year.

Effective lighting increases safety by acting as a deterrent to crime.

The new lighting replacement is already under contract. The next safety improvement made will be a new surveillance system.

The PAC will recommend the proposals at the next City Commission work session on April 2.

The main concern at the first community meeting at 12 p.m. Wednesday was recommending the meters be changed from a two-hour limit to a three-hour limit.

There is a second community outreach evening meeting scheduled for Wednesday, March 20 at 6 p.m. at the City Commission Chambers.

If you cannot attend the meeting, but still want to contact the PAC, you can reach out to Tammy Baber at 406-455-8414 or email her at

Kasey Herman

Kasey Herman

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