By Melissa De Leon/The Signal
After seven years, the time to reassess parking fees has come. Associated Students Incorporated Directors invited representatives from California State University, Stanislaus’s Facilities Services and the Finance department on Feb. 18 to discuss parking, what determined the current fees, where that money goes and what is going to happen next.
“Parking is, by nature, a very, very emotional topic,” Russell Giambelluca, Vice President of Business and Finance, said.
A number of students attended to hear what the business side of parking had to say.
“I went to hear about the parking fees and if they were increasing,” Jeannie Halvorson, junior, Economics, said. “To see why the prices would be increasing, if they did, and to see why the prices are where they are right now as well.”
While the the ASI Board’s original discussion was of possibly decreasing parking fees now that the current parking plan, designed in 2007, is about to expire, the guest speakers’ focus was on the capacity of CSU Stanislaus’s current parking.
The 2007 parking plan currently responsible for parking fees was based off of a need to raise money for lots that were impacted, an issue that could recur in the next five years.
Now, however, that plan is due to end and open the doors for the current issue. ASI President Mariam Salameh and ASI Vice President Marvin Hooker constructed suggested points of what the new parking plan should entail in order to meet the needs of both the students and the services paid for by parking.
“Number one is to create a parking committee or establish a new one, since the agreement is going to end within the next year, with strong student involvement because it is a big student issue,” Hooker said.
Another suggestion was to conduct a survey that examines how many spots are available for students, when a structure might be needed and what compromise can be made from both sides.
“We will do a lot of studies – you have to be careful about doing them too early because they are not free; they are very expensive,” Giambelluca said. “We struggle with that with the buildings we put up; we can’t just go out hiring people to give us estimates because they charge us, and if we are not ready to move forward, or we don’t see the fundings available, I can’t in good conscience spend all that money.”
One topic clarified at the meeting was where the revenue from parking permits go.
Since implementing the 2007 parking plan, parking fees have contributed to a variety of areas on campus including: construction of the Christoffersen Parkway entrance, the addition of over 500 parking spaces, campus grounds maintenance and cleanup, safety shuttle rides, Emergency Blue Light Phones and administrative support, including Cashier Service’s sale of the permits themselves.
Though little appeared to be resolved, both parties will continue to strive for a compromise that will suit the needs of both the students and the campus.
“Our campus is everybody’s campus, and the well-being of the campus is the responsibility of all of us,” Halvorson said.
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