Area residents unhappy with proposed parking changes

At Monday evening's City Council meeting, approximately 11 area residents, including some employees and owners of downtown businesses, appeared before council to express their displeasure with proposed parking changes for the city. The residents said they were opposed to the council's proposed changes in parking times, fines and permits. Among the most prominent concerns stated were the increase in parking fines from $2 to $5, which one resident noted was a 150 percent increase; the 2-6 a.m. closing of city parking lots and city streets, especially for those who work into the early morning at local bars; disagreement about the parking lots having to be closed during those hours year-round when snow needs to cleared out of them for only a few months out of the year; and that the maximum two-hour time limit on city meters isn't enough. As a result, council approved for St. Marys Mayor Sally Geyer and Councilman Dick Dornisch to head up a new parking committee to address the citizens' concerns on the proposed changes. All meetings will be public. Dornisch agreed with some of the complaints tendered by the residents who attended the meeting. "I am totally opposed to an increase in prices and for four to five snowfalls a year, this is no reason to close the lots year-round," Dornisch said.Also at the meeting, former St. Marys City Police Sergeant Phil Hoh was honored for his 27 years of service with the department. He was presented with a large plaque by SMPD Chief Todd Caltagarone, a certificate from the city and a House citation from state Rep. Matt Gabler's office, as well as his officer's badge. Also in attendance were Hoh's wife Sandy and two daughters, who were each presented with flowers.