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Evening parking could cost you in St. Paul under new budget

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Changes to on-street parking in St. Paul are among the major changes announced by Mayor Chris Coleman as he revealed the city's $545.8 million budget for 2016.

From Jan. 1, the enforcement hours for on-street parking meters in St. Paul will be extended from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. Monday through Saturday, with parking costing $1 an hour between those times.

In a speech given Tuesday, Coleman said the move is designed to encourage those parking for longer periods to leave their cars in parking ramps or lots, leaving on-street parking for short-term stays.

He said there are more than 7,500 empty parking spaces in downtown St. Paul even at the busiest times, but most of these are in ramps and lots.

Small business are concerned that potential customers are being put off from visiting because the on-street spaces are full, so Coleman wants the city's supply of spaces to be more evenly spread.

Other key points from Coleman's speech include:

  • A General Fund Budget of $258 million, with an overall budget of $545.8 million, representing an $18 million spending increase from 2015 while closing a $10 million budget gap.
  • An increase of 1.9 percent in the property tax levy in line with inflation.
  • Roll out of program to provide library cards to every St. Paul child by the end of 2017.
  • Continued funding for the St. Paul youth jobs program, Right Track and the fire department's EMS Academy.
  • Police officer numbers to remain at 615, fire department to stay at 114.
  • Expanded library hours approved in the 2015 budget to be fully funded.
  • Investment in Wilder, Palace, Scheffer and other city rec centers, as well as improvements to Phalen and North Dale ice rinks.

The Star Tribune reports that the mayor's budget will now go before the City Council, which will have the final say on the property tax levy. It will approve a budget by the end of the year.

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