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Monroe County Public Library To Change And Expand Hours

The Monroe County Public Library will be change hours starting on Labor Day.

The Library’s Board of Trustees voted June 18 to add two extra hours on Sundays, meaning the Library will soon be open from noon until 6 p.m. instead of 1 p.m. to 5 p.m.

Library Director Sara Laughlin said the administration has been wanted to expand Sunday hours for years.

“In 2012 when we did a community survey, what would you choose to change our services,” Laughlin says. “Number one, of course, was fix parking. But number three was expand weekend hours.”

Laughlin said the city’s parking meters also motivated the change. Parking is free on Sundays. To help offset the cost of the change, the Library cut an hour from its Friday schedule. It will open at 10 a.m. instead of 9 a.m. on Fridays.

The Board also voted to push back its schedule on Saturdays. The building will be open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturdays instead of 9  to 5.

The changes take effect September 1.

Parking Stays Un-Privatized at Indiana University

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Indiana University Treasurer Mary Frances McCourt has estimated that parking operations on campus could generate a $43 million profit over the next twenty years. She presented her findings to the IU Board of Trustees on Friday.

McCourt recommended in October that the university should control its own revenue stream, and the board accepted. McCourt said parking prices will be determined by market peer-rate settings and suggests the funds go to building and repairing facilities on campus.

Parking revenue and expenses currently balance out, but McCourt said sometimes expenses can exceed revenue when facility upgrades are required. The university is considering putting automated parking equipment in garages on some campuses, which would be a one-point-nine million dollar investment.

IU Trustee Patrick Shoulders approved of the board’s decision to control revenue, but disagreed about where the funds should go.

“First of all, I’m glad that the decision has been made NOT to privatize parking operations and that parking will remain a function of the university,” Shoulders says, “We retain the flexibility and ability to maintain those lots to the standards we demand. To the extent that parking rates are increased, I hope nay excess revenue is invested in our people. I think that some of our employees start at hourly wages that simply don’t pay a living wage.”

Details about the reformed parking rate structure will be released by IU officials in the spring.

Parking Meter Vandals Continue, Police Say

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Local police are receiving ongoing reports of parking meter vandalism in Bloomington.

Susie Johnson, director of the city’s Public Works department, says she doesn’t want to go into detail on the vandalism, but that it has been minimal so far.

“I really would rather not go into it, and not draw attention to it because I think it fans the flames,” Johnson said, “The more we talk about it, the more people want to do it.”

Johnson says parking meter vandalism has been declining, and that she doesn’t know if the incidents have been organized or random, but that Bloomington police are investigating.

City Council Lowers Parking Meter Fines

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The Bloomington City Council voted yesterday to do away with the stiffest penalties for violating the city’s parking meter rules.

Council President Darryl Neher introduced an amendment to city code that set a fine of twenty dollars for all parking meter violations.

The amendment removed the escalating fine structure the Council passed earlier this year, which would have resulted in fines as high as one hundred dollars for failure to pay meters.

Neher read the new language that will be part of the traffic code that said the fine will increase to $40 if it is not paid within seven days.

The Council did not discuss the amendment or ask any questions of Mayor Mark Kruzan’s administration, which first put forward the change.

The council did vote to approve the measure, but Council member Andy Ruff voted against it and member Steve Volan abstained. Neither member explained their votes.

Later in the meeting, the council voted to install a neighborhood parking zone in a roughly six-block area south of downtown.

The zone is aimed at alleviating a problem with the area’s street parking, which is commonly used by drivers going downtown or to the Indiana University campus. The zone was initially proposed to stretch from Lincoln Street east to Henderson Street, and from Second Street south to First Street. But Neher proposed the council exempt First Street from the new rules.

The zone would keep most drivers who don’t live in the six-block area from parking on the streets there. Council member Tim Mayer said the city should study the parking situation on First Street before setting parking restrictions there.

The Council voted to approve the new parking zone without including First Street.

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