Council on Parking Operations proposes 10 percent increase in parking permit rate for upcoming year

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K-State parking provides more than 300 parking stalls near the residence halls and campus buildings. The parking garage is located directly across from the Berney Family Welcome Center and is connected to the Student Union. (Archive photo by Brooke Barrett | Collegian Media Group)

In Thursday’s virtual town hall, director of parking and transportation Jeff Barnes and other members of the Council on Parking Operations addressed the proposed increase in parking fees for fiscal year 2022.

With this proposal, student permits will increase by $18 from $180 to $198. Faculty and staff permits have three tiers to reflect benefits levels. The tiers will have just shy of a 10 percent increase.

“Some of the faculty/staff may actually see a decrease in how much they’re paying for their permits this year,” Barnes said. “So, if you’re making between $28,000 and $40,000, you’re going to drop down to tier one. … The same thing goes if you’re making between $40,000 and $80,000, you’re going to drop down to the FS2 category, and you’re going to pay a little less than you did, actually, this year.”

The council, comprised of members from the faculty, student and university support staff senates, showcased the three main reasons for the proposed increase:

  1. Increased services and costs for ATA bus shuttles,
  2. Increased parking lot maintenance costs,
  3. Decreased parking permit revenue

A parking lot condition study in 2019 showed 24 percent of Kansas State parking lots failed and need replacement. Another 21 percent of lots were in poor condition.

“I would be okay with the increase if there was more parking available, but there’s not,” Joey Ragona, senior in biochemistry said. “Pre-COVID, you would pay $180 for there not to be a guarantee in a [parking] spot, … there are about 100 spots in the parking lots around campus that are always filled unless you get there at 8 a.m.”

Additionally, annual permit sales are down 1800 permits since 2014, bringing the overall annual revenue for Parking Services down $200,000 — an additional $2.5 million was lost because of the pandemic.

With the proposed increase, the additional revenue would allow for parking lot maintenance, rebuilding reserves for debt service coverage and starting to implement the License Plate Recognition program.

The program will scan license plates either by a designated vehicle driving through a parking lot or as a registered vehicle enters the parking garage.

“You’ll still end up buying a permit, but it’s just virtual,” Barnes said. “You won’t get a physical permit to hang on your rearview mirror, it’ll just be your license plate.”

Peggie Post, English department administrative officer, asked when the LPR program will be implemented.

Assistant director of parking services Adrienne Tucker said it will depend on revenues.

“We are planning on implementing LPR in spring of 2022, but that will depend on revenues,” Tucker said. “If we do not have the funds to start LPR, we will postpone implementation to the 2022-2023 academic year.”

This will cost around $300,000, Tucker said.

“You would have the ability to go online to your account and add each vehicle you own or add a rental if you have a rental vehicle. That way you do not have to worry about moving your permit between vehicles,” Tucker said. “But you can still only have one vehicle on campus [at a time].”

Additionally, with the new program, no Parking Services employee will report expired license plates to authorities.

The full list of the proposed increases for fiscal year 2022, along with the recorded town hall meeting, is on the Parking Services website.

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My name is Sean Schaper, and I'm the news editor for the Collegian. I’m a junior in journalism with a secondary focus in film studies. I grew up right outside of Kansas City in Leawood, Kansas. As a first-generation K-Stater, I look forward to leaving behind accurate coverage for the current and future Wildcat community.