Rutland, VT – The City of Rutland’s biggest parking garage is set to reopen Thursday after it was closed for two days while inspectors checked out the building’s structural integrity.

Meanwhile, hundreds of people who pay $3 a day to park there discovered that metered spots downtown were tripled to $1.50 an hour. Fines for expired meters were increased from $15 to as much as $30.

The cost to park in metered spots in downtown Rutland has been $0.50 per hour for years, but the City’s Board of Aldermen just voted to triple the price to $1.50 per hour.

“I think the impact is too much on shoppers and downtown Rutland,” said Sharon Davis of the Board of Alderman, which unanimously approved the parking price hike.

Davis voted ‘no’ on the increased fines, saying a number of business owners didn’t support it.

“There was not a lot of support for this. They understood that the city needed to make revenue, and they understood that we may need to adjust the fines. But do we double it? Triple it, no. I think that’s extreme,” said Davis.

She worries that if the downtown parking deck ever closes for a long period of time, it won’t just be harder to find parking in Rutland, but more people living and working in the city will have to pay those fines.

“Having the parking deck closed is certainly a negative impact on downtown because a certain amount of businesses use it,” said Davis.

One downtown Rutland business owner says his customers already deal with parking tickets too often and says he’s even helped pay for some.

He’s happy to see the garage reopen as well, especially for a more affordable rate.