Today, Ward Three city council candidate Matthew Shoemaker promised to continue working to have the City of Sault Ste. Marie adopt paid parking for City staff during the 2018-2022 Council Term.
In 2015, Shoemaker brought a motion to review downtown parking operations. The review was done by a committee that he chaired. The proposed changes, which were implemented in 2017, have saved the City almost $200,000 annually. Along with those proposed changes, Shoemaker proposed that City staff be charged for parking. However, in May 2018, City Council, at the recommendation of staff, rejected this proposal. Shoemaker plans to revisit the issue if re-elected this fall.
Shoemaker said, “Our own staff report sets out that Timmins, Thunder Bay, Sudbury and North Bay all either charge for parking or provide it as a taxable benefit to their employees. Sault Ste. Marie does neither of these things. This is a matter of fairness, as most other public-sector employees in the Sault charge their employees for parking, including OLG, the Courthouse, Algoma University, Sault College, Sault Area Hospital and the Group Health Centre.”
Some of the concerns raised by Council in May 2018 were how the City would treat part-time employees and whether City staff at locations outside the downtown would have to pay for parking. As he did previously, Shoemaker would propose chairing a committee to look at the issue and find the most equitable way to implement paid parking for City staff, taking into account all the concerns that had been previously set out.
“It costs money to re-seal our parking lots, to paint the parking lines each year, and to maintain the lighting and guard rails throughout. Currently, these costs are being paid for by the taxpayer,” said Shoemaker. “Paid parking for City Staff would be a user-pay system whereby those using the parking lots on a daily basis would share in the cost of maintaining them. With the right approach, I am confident we can find a solution that is fair to employees and that will keep more money in the hands of the taxpayers.”