On a 4-3 vote Monday night, the Decorah City Council approved a two–year lease renewal of Marc Folkedahl’s parking lot.
But the Council approved paying Folkedahl only $400 per month, not the $500 monthly rate Folkedahl requested and the amount the city has been paying him for the past two years.
The current lease ends July 31, and City Manager Chad Bird said Tuesday he is in discussions with Folkedahl on whether he would accept the $400 per month payment and another issue.
The Council property committee reviewed the lease renewal prior to the Council’s regular meeting. Council member Tade Kerndt, chair of the committee, told the full Council he did not believe the lease should be renewed.
Kerndt, and Council members Chuck Lore and Randy Schissel voted against the renewal, while Paul Wanless, Gary Rustad, Jody Niess and Bill Wagner voted for it.
During a discussion, Niess said customers of downtown businesses in addition to people who live downtown use the parking lot. She said the Downtown Decorah Betterment Association had the chance to purchase the lot for $25,000 years ago, but came up $5,000 short in its fundraising and Folkedahl purchased it. As more people move to downtown apartments, the parking lot will be needed, she said.
Lore suggested parking permits be sold and Wanless said it would be ideal if Folkedahl received his revenue that way instead of from the city. If the city would decide to rent permanent spaces, it would have to enforce it, Wanless said. City Administrator Chad Bird said a fee schedule would have to be established and when asked, Police Chief Bill Nixon indicated he would prefer not to tie up officers’ time enforcing parking permits in a city lot.
Lore asked why the city should be providing parking for a taxi service, referring to Hometown Taxi.
“We’ve gone around on this every two years, and every two years I get scolded from people who are not happy with the fact we lease this parking lot for $500 per month,” Rustad said.
“There are some benefits of that parking lot for the city … it does get cars off West Main and West Broadway and side streets during the winter months for snow removal.”