GRAND ISLAND, Neb. — The Grand Island City Council voted to change the way they charge for parking downtown, now including churches and nonprofits.
Downtown businesses have always been charged by the city for parking to keep it free for those visiting.
Now, they've included nonprofits and churches who weren't paying anything before.
It's a new deal to make parking more fair in the downtown area according to the city of Grand Island.
Nonprofits and churches are now pitching in.
"We're fortunate that the property that we own has its own parking lot. We have ample parking spaces so the new assessments are not going to affect us like they will other nonprofits downtown," said the executive director for the Grand Island Area Habitat for Humanity Dana Jelinek.
For those that don't own a parking lot, Dana Jelinek said it'll have a bigger impact.
"It is hard on nonprofits to have an additional assessment when it probably isn't in their budgets and they don't have the income to offset that at least the initial year. After this, it will be in a budget and they will have to plan for it," said Jelinek.
Businesses and retailers were paying for all of the parking costs through an occupation tax.
With the new system, they've created a new parking district which changes the way they charge for parking.
"The only thing that is changing is the way that we assess. Now, there are special assessments that are based on square footage that the property owners own. That's how it's different from parking district number one," said the finance director for the city of Grand Island Patrick Brown.
For those businesses who own parking spaces that are available to the public, the city issues a $10 credit per spot.
And for those visiting downtown, the parking will continue to be free.
"It's been known that if you put parking meters up, it really discourages people to park downtown. Right now we are really trying to get people downtown so it really would defeat the purpose," said Brown.
The new change will go into full effect within the next week which is when businesses, churches and nonprofits will really notice the change.