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The Mass Media

The Mass Media

The Mass Media

Parking To Cost $5 January 1

Beginning January 1, 2002, the parking rate at UMass Boston will rise from $3.50 a day to $5.00 a day. In 2003, it will climb to $6.00 and in 2004, it will be $7.00. Every year thereafter it will jump 5 percent.

The decision to raise the parking fee was made following a final negotiating session on November 29 between the “No Parking Fee Increase” Committee, which represented students, staff and faculty, and an administration committee headed by Beth Marshall, the assistant vice chancellor for human resources.

The UMB administration chose to halt negotiations immediately after the last bargaining session and to implement their best final offer, which would give them a month to prepare for the January 1 increase.

“I think it’s an outrageous and unfortunate decision,” declared Tom Goodkind, who represented professional staff on the committee opposing the hike. “They’ve implemented a sliding-scale in reverse. Employees can use a pre-tax deduction to pay for parking. The higher the tax bracket, the greater the benefit.” He added, “But students aren’t eligible for this benefit. Students will pay more to park than administrators making over $100,000 a year.”

Goodkind said that both sides agreed to revisit the issue between the second and third increase. He also noted that the proposed 5 percent increase, scheduled yearly beginning in 2005, “is illegal and we will challenge that.” He explained that this plan removes the issue from further contract negotiations between campus unions and the UMB administration.

According to Vice Chancellor for Administration & Finance David MacKenzie, who sources report “calls the shots” when it comes to money issues on campus, the increase was necessary to pay for badly needed repairs on the UMB parking garage and the increased cost of shuttle bus service when the new campus center is completed.

“When you look at the increase to five dollars, if we just had increased the cost for inflation [from 1993, the date of the last increase] the cost would be four dollars and sixty-cents,” MacKenzie said.

When asked how the anti-fee hike coalition would respond when the increase is finally implemented, Goodkind would only comment, “We are not going to stop expressing our opinion.”