For much of the pandemic, sales for the City of Mill Valley’s Resident Shopper Vehicle Permit (RSVP) program, which allows residents of Mill Valley and nearby towns to park for up to two hours free at a metered space as a way to promote downtown businesses, plummeted. Parking enforcement decreased dramatically as well, along with the revenue that comes with it. The RSVP program has long since returned, but at a much-diminished level. Parking spots remain widely available.
As Police Chief Rick Navarro made clear in a hearing before the City Council in April, those long stretches of significantly reduced parking-related revenues put his department in a $700,000 hole. “The desired outcome is to stabilize revenue over time,” Navarro told the council, noting that the department will reimburse the general fund for the deficit in fiscal years 2019/20 and 2020/21. “We want to be cost neutral.”
To address that deficit, Navarro proposed a series of rate hikes to pay for needed technology and infrastructure upgrades that would increase revenue, stimulate parking turnover and provide more options for residents and guests to pay for parking. Those increases included parking meter fee hikes, and increases in fines related to violations. The council also authorized the purchase of Automated License Plate Recognition system, which will allow the department to glean critical data around who parks where, why and when, and thus be able in the future to change certain parking designations in response to usage patterns.
As MVPD seeks to dig out of its pandemic-driven losses, with meter rates expected to rise to $2.50 per hour in some places, Mill Valley residents and visitors have an ace in the hole. RSVP stickers are $50 for the first two vehicles and $67 for the third and fourth vehicles, with a step up to $75 in 2023, remain one of the best deals in town, not to mention the ability to avoid feeding the meter.
City officials put the 2022 RSVP stickers on sale at the beginning of 2022, available both online or at the Mill Valley Police Department at 1 Hamilton Drive, Monday-Thursday, 8am to 5pm and Friday 8am to 4pm. Permits for Mill Valley residents are $50.00 each for the 1st or 2nd vehicle and $70 each for the 3rd or 4th vehicle. Permits are $70 for non-residents in zip codes 9965, 94920 and 94925.
The RSVP program is designed to make it convenient for Mill Valley and other Marin residents to shop, eat and visit downtown Mill Valley. We appreciate your support of our local restaurants and businesses! “We hope that current permit holders will continue to utilize their permits to show support to our local businesses,” MVPD officials said in announcing the permits.
As always, in an effort spur RSVP sales, the Mill Valley Market continues to offer any of its customers who spends $350 or more at the market in the month of July a $30 discount on the purchase of an RSVP sticker. Participants can bring their market receipts totaling $350 from purchases within July, along with their receipt for their RSVP sticker purchase, to the Mill Valley Market and get a $30 discount on their next purchase.
Don’t miss out – support your downtown business community AND avoid the parking meter and ticket hike increases!