The city of Sacramento will soon turn off its parking meters for four new holidays a year, the City Council decided Tuesday.
Starting next year, people can park for free on Martin Luther King Jr. Day, Presidents Day, Veterans Day and Cesar Chavez’s Birthday, which is the last Monday in March.
In January, MLK march participants got parking tickets because they thought parking was free on all city holidays, including Martin Luther King Jr. Day. Afterward, Councilwoman Angelique Ashby asked city staff to add MLK Day to its free parking list.
City staff researched how much money the city would lose if it allowed free parking on MLK Day, as well as the three other city holidays it still charged for parking.
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“We didn’t feel it was fair to just look at the one holiday because that would still cause confusion so we thought, why don’t we look at all the holidays?” said Erika Galang, city program specialist.
Staff brought the item to the council’s Law and Legislation Committee last month, which recommended forwarding it to the council for action, Galang said.
The city does not charge for parking on New Year’s Day, Memorial Day, Independence Day, Labor Day, Thanksgiving Day and Christmas Day, the staff report said. Parking is also free on every Sunday, and from the day after Thanksgiving through Christmas Eve at 1,761 parking spaces, the staff report said.
The city expects to lose about $100,000 in annual parking revenue by allowing free parking on the four additional days, the staff report said. This year and last, the city collected an average of $21,000 to $34,000 on each of the four days.
Parking meter revenue goes in to the city’s general fund, but according to city code, can only be spent on certain services, such as regulation and traffic control on public streets; public off-street parking facilities; and to cover the cost of supervision, inspection, maintenance and use of the parking spaces, Galang said.
Officials in the city’s budget department reviewed the idea and did not find that the revenue loss would cause a harsh budget impact, Galang said.