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Local News

September 6, 2013

Mayoral candidates sound off on parking, fees

NEWBURYPORT - As part of The Daily News election coverage, we asked the candidates for mayor of Newburyport to respond to the query, “Is the parking system in the downtown adequate? What would you do to improve it?”

The candidates - incumbent Donna Holaday, City Councilor Greg Earls and City Councilor Richard Sullivan Jr. - will face off in the Sept. 17 preliminary election. The two top votegetters will run against one another in the Nov. 5 general election. The newly elected mayor will serve a four-year term, and receive an annual salary of $98,000.

Here are the candidates’ answers:

Donna D. Holaday

Holaday succeeded in establishing a paid downtown parking program over two years ago to pay for downtown repairs, “and the community is starting to reap the benefits.” Since its inception, the program has grossed over $1.5 million in revenue; the program has cost $845,575 to administer, netting the city $736,037 in revenue.

Holaday noted the proceeds have been reinvested in the downtown, “including sidewalks, drainage, stairways, lighting, trees, landscaping, and parking lot re-surfacing” as well as ongoing renovations to the Green Street parking lot, expected to be finished in two weeks.

“The city is planning on resetting the brickwork along Inn Street as the next phase of work. Funding from paid parking has provided other enhancements to the Inn Street area, including new lighting, flower boxes and reshaping the brick turrets.

“This program’s success can also be tied to the creation of the Parking Advisory Committee which meets on a quarterly basis to go over feedback from residents and businesses. The Committee, composed of members of the City Council, Mayor’s Office, Clerk’s Office, Planning Office, Police Department, Chamber of Commerce, Waterfront Trust, and Newburyport Redevelopment Authority, has enacted numerous changes since the program’s start and continues to look for ways to improve the user experience.

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