Operators Of Scranton Garages May Give Group Discount To County Employees
SCRANTON — The outside operators of Scranton’s parking system may lower the price of monthly parking garage spaces for Lackawanna County employees centralized in the former Globe store downtown, officials said.
In advance of the relocation of 900 employees to the new county government headquarters on Wyoming Avenue, the county wants a group rate discount off the regular $90-per-month cost of a space in the Electric City Parking Garage, partly built atop the back end
of the former Globe store, officials said.
A price cut for county employees has not been approved or determined, but remains under discussion.
The outside operators, the nonprofit National Development Council and its local subsidiary, Community Development Properties Scranton, first want the county to survey its employees about their current parking habits, NDC Director David Trevisani told city council during a recent meeting.
“What they’re looking for is a volume discount” on monthly garage parking spaces for county employees, Trevisani said. “What we’ve said (in response) is we can’t really help you with that until we understand how many parkers there are and what the likely increase would be.”
That’s because the outside operators do not know how many county employees already park in city-affiliated garages and thus already pay $90 for a monthly garage space, Trevisani said.
“We don’t have a good handle on how many parkers we currently have (from county employees) because a lot of the folks park individually and we don’t track their employment,” Trevisani said during an update about the parking system given to council last week. “They (the county) are willing to a to do a survey ... so we can have some information and data, so we can work together and make an educated decision.”
Lackawanna County Acting Chief of Staff Donald Frederickson declined to comment, citing the parking-discount issue as under negotiation.
Electric City is one of six city-affiliated garages — the others are Linden, Medallion, Connell, Casey and the Marketplace at Steamtown — all leased by NDC/CDPS and operated under one umbrella by a different firm, ABM Parking.
This lease/operations arrangement stems from the city’s 2016 monetization of parking garages and meters. That deal involved the city selling the Electric City garage to John Basalyga, who also owns the mall. In turn, he leases the Electric City and mall parking back to NDC/CDPS for operation as city garages, to eliminate the mall as a parking competitor.
Lackawanna County is nearing the end of an $18 million project to convert the former Globe into the future home of county government.
Councilman Bill Gaughan asked Trevisani and NDC Director Robert “Bud” Sweet how the county’s move into the former Globe would impact the parking system.
Noting that county employees who will relocate to the former Globe “clearly are going to park in the Electric City garage,” which currently is undergoing repairs, Councilman Wayne Evans asked if there’s enough room there for a county influx.
Trevisani said that although top floors of Electric City are closed for repairs, there should be enough spaces for county employees, or some could also park at the mall across the street.
“I would think it would be in the county’s best interest to spearhead that (survey) for you because it would get the best possible rate for their employees,” Evans said.
In the summer, Evans proposed that the parking operators offer downtown residents a discount on the $90 monthly garage fee. This idea aims to entice them to park in city garages overnight, when occupancies are lowest, and to bring in more parking revenue overall. Some downtown residents park overnight at metered street spaces that are free from 5 p.m. to 8 a.m. Getting their vehicles into garages via discounted monthly rates would free up nighttime street parking for customers of downtown businesses.
In response, the parking operators in recent months had a survey conducted of downtown residents about their parking habits. Two hundred people responded, but the survey is under review and no decisions have been made, Trevisani and Sweet said.
While the operators consider group discounts for downtown residents and county employees, businesses and individuals will still pay the $90 monthly garage rate, Trevisani said. The operators can give discounts to governmental entities or specific segments of the general public, such as downtown residents en masse, but cannot give discounts to businesses or individual garage parkers, he said.
“What you can’t do is you can’t just go negotiate different deals with different folks,” Trevisani said.
JEFF HORVATH, staff writer, contributed to this article.
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