You may soon have to pay more to park downtown. The mayor's proposed budget increases rates for meters and garages.

The 2013-14 budget proposal would hike garage parking by $2 a month. The city has six garages that charge between $50 and $131 a month. Meter rates would be $1.50 an hour, a 25-cent increease. The rate hikes would bring in an extra $478,000.

The city also proposes increasing the fines for parking tickets from $35 to $40.

If approved by City Council, the rates would go into effect July 1.

Last fiscal year, the city raised parking rates at most garages by $5 a month and $1.25 a day. It also increased meter rates and ticket fines.

"I think it's terrible. So many people aren't coming downtown now because they're so afraid of downtown and also because the parking is so unavilable," said downtown worker Mary Helbig.

"If you want to encourage us to keep our businesses downtown - I think we pay a healthy rate to the city already - they really have to make a strong case to me they need the additional revenue," said Tim Bellavia, who owns a law firm downtown.
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Plenty of free parking in the burbs