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St. Louis Gets $5 Million In Parking Revenue To Cushion Coronavirus Impact

A report being considered by the St. Louis parking commission suggests increasing parking rates in the city. That would help fund upgraded meters, like this one that takes credit cards.
Paul Sableman | Flickr
The budget reserves for the city of St. Louis have received a $5 million boost from revenue generated by parking.

The city of St. Louis has received an extra $5 million to cover the costs of the coronavirus outbreak.

The commission that helps oversee parking operations in the city voted Friday to transfer the money from one of its accounts to the city’s reserves. That’s about the amount the city has spent this budget year on the virus; next year’s budget is likely to be millions of dollars in the red.

“We’re real fortunate that the city has about $42 million in reserves right now,” said Alderman Jeffrey Boyd, D-22nd Ward, who sponsored the resolution to make the transfer. “However, we know that is going to be decimated. We are one city, and we should all be working together. It’s all hands on deck now.”

Boyd is on the commission because he is the chairman of the streets committee for the Board of Aldermen. The other members are the director of streets and Treasurer Tishaura Jones.

Jones was unable to make the meeting on Friday. Her representative, chief of staff Jared Boyd, was the lone no vote. He had asked the commission to delay the vote until Monday, when the treasurer was supposed to present the budget for her parking division.

“This request is premature given all the variables that go into looking at parking reserves,” Jared Boyd said. “We think any discussion of this should be in the context of budget, revenues, parking division legal obligations and other buckets of relief coming from the state and federal governments."

Jeffrey Boyd is challenging Jones in the August Democratic primary. In a statement on Friday, Jones accused Jeffrey Boyd of using an arbitrary number to “try to score political points for his upcoming election when we all should be focused on the health and safety of all St. Louisans.”

The treasurer’s office is taking a financial hit because of the coronavirus. The lack of events downtown means there is little revenue coming in from city-owned surface lots and garages, and meter enforcement has been suspended since March 16.

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Rachel is the justice correspondent at St. Louis Public Radio.