Letter: Feltes criticism unwarranted

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

State Sen. Dan Feltes has received undeserved and inaccurate criticism for sponsoring legislation to give Concord a tool that two other New Hampshire cities already enjoy: the option to administer a fee on automobile registrations to help defray maintenance of city parking garages. Sen. Feltes introduced this legislation not on his own initiative, but at the city’s request.

Concord’s Parking Committee has over the past two years met with consultants, city staff, the public and the business community, seeking ways to keep the parking fund solvent and self-sustaining as well as to wisely manage parking, a valuable and limited economic development resource. Literally dozens of public meetings were held, many reported by the Monitor, at which the registration fee and other proposals were discussed. The result was a series of recommendations to the city council that included increasing parking fees and fines, expanding metered hours, moving from leased spaces to permits and broadening the existing state statute to allow the registration fee in Concord, all of which could reduce pressure on property taxes.

Had the measure passed, the city council would have required a public hearing and robust citizen input on its impact, including reducing tax pressure on property owners, before any registration fee proposal was enacted, no matter how small. It is highly unlikely that the maximum rate allowed by statute, and cited by critics of Sen. Feltes, would ever have been proposed.

Of the two cities currently empowered by the state Legislature to use the registration fee, Manchester charges a modest fee while Nashua charges none. We thank Sen. Feltes for being responsive to the city’s interest in having this tool available as well.



(The signers are members of the city Parking Committee.)