In a letter to King County employees today, county executive services division director Kathy Brown said the county council, at the request of county executive Dow Constantine, was delaying a proposed increase in parking rates for county employees at the Goat Hill parking garage across the street from the county courthouse "in a spirit of collaboration with the unions."

County employees currently pay $235 a month, $15 a day, or $5 an hour to park in the garage. Those rates are deeply discounted from the normal rates for the garage, which are $275 a month, $31 a day, and $11 an hour. The county had planned to increase employees' parking rates to the still-below-market-rate level of $260 a month (keeping daily and hourly rates the same); however, Constantine apparently changed his mind sometime between December 16, when the modest rate increase was announced, and today.

"County Executive Dow Constantine, in a spirit of collaboration with the unions, wishes to delay application of the new fees until February 1, 2011 in order to facilitate a discussion with labor unions about the effects of parking rate increases," the letter says. "Consequently, the Executive has asked the County Council to adopt legislation delaying adoption of the new fees."

Constantine spokesman Frank Abe says the county will increase parking rates starting in February, and that the delay until February is intended to "explain" the parking rate increase to employees.

The city of Seattle does not provide discounted parking to city employees.
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