The student news site of Diablo Valley College.

The Inquirer

The student news site of Diablo Valley College.

The Inquirer

The student news site of Diablo Valley College.

The Inquirer

Parking fee increase passes despite student opposition

A $5 hike in semester parking passes and a $1 increase in the daily rate will not be put into play this spring, despite approval by the district trustees late last semester.

District spokesman Tim Leong said DVC still needs to “work out the bugs” before students can pay for day passes with credit or debit cards, so the fee will not be in effect until the summer semester.

Increased citations, however, went into effect Jan. 1, with a parking ticket now costing $40 instead of $35.

Over the objections of board member Tomi Van de Brooke and student trustee Christina Cannon, who does not have a vote, the governing board approved the fee hike 4-1 on Dec. 9.

The price of a semester parking permit will rise from $35 to $40, while daily passes will cost $3 instead of $2.

In his presentation to DVC student leaders last semester, district police Chief Charles Gibson promoted the fee hike as necessary to ease $235,000 in budget cuts to his department.

But 75 percent of the $5 fee increase ($3.75 per semester pass) will go to an outside company to manage online and debit/credit card purchases, according to a report given to board members before the vote.

The remaining 25 percent ($1.25 per pass) will benefit the district, according to the report.

That would amount to $114,879 in new income to be kept in “a restricted reserve for future parking lot repairs and improvements, beginning in 2010/2011,” according to the report.

Lindsay St. Hill, president of the Associated Students of DVC, accused the district of not being completely honest about the need for the fee increase.

“I feel like they were using the budget cuts as a good time to pass it,” she said in an interview with The Inquirer. 
St. Hill said the fee was presented as a tradeoff to laying off students who work as police aides and patrol campus parking lots.

Chief Gibson could not be reached for comment, but Vice Chancellor Kindred Murillo said the impetus for the fee increase was primarily to improve services for students: By enabling them to purchase parking permits online, students would spend less time waiting in line.

“If you can register [for classes] online,” Murillo said, “why can’t you buy a parking pass online?”

Cannon declined to be interviewed by the Inquirer, but district board member Van de Brooke said  she made a “compelling case for not raising fees we have control over” at the Dec. 9 meeting.

“I thought it was important to recognize that this will impact students,” Van de Brooke said.  “We should be looking at more creative options.”

Cannon presented the board with several ideas, such as increasing fees only for “priority parking” or charging faculty and staff to park.

Chancellor Helen Benjamin said Cannon’s suggestions are receiving attention.

“Some of them may be kind of hard to implement,” Benjamin said. “But all of them were good.”

Governing board President Sheila Grilli called the parking fee increase “minimal.”

“If a student owns a car and buys insurance and gas,” she said, “he can surely pay to park it.”

Contact Oksana Yurovsky at [email protected]

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Oksana Yurovsky, Staff member
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Parking fee increase passes despite student opposition