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OPINION THE 'DAISY' APPROACH TO PARKING FEES EDITORIAL A huge sigh of relief was breathed following the Sarasota City Commission meeting on Sept. 3 … by the staff of the city's Parking Enforcement Division. The commissioners had just voted 3-2 to resume charging for parking in the 740-space Palm Avenue garage, an apparent reprieve for a division costing city taxpayers more than a million dollars each year. ing from the city's streets and garages, scrapping practically new parking meters in the process. The parking charges started with the installation of those $10,000 parking meters in May 2011. Protests from downtown merchants began almost immediately, so the City Commission then voted in July to suspend charges for parking for three months. In October, parking fees resumed … for five Not so relieved are those same taxpayers, who months. Then the City Commission pulled all might have hoped the commission instead of the meters and reestablished free parking would have scaled back parking enforcement downtown in March 2012. to match the requirements of a downtown that The city's approach to paid parking has been featured free parking. somewhat like a child's plucking of petals Only 547 days had passed since the City Com- from a daisy, saying, "He loves me. He loves mission, knuckling under to protests from down- me not" … only the city is saying, "We charge town merchants, voted 3-2 to remove paid park- them. We charge them not."

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