Scranton, Lackawanna County - Many business owners and drivers are expressing outrage over a plan to increase the number of hours and days the city of Scranton collects parking meter money.
They call the proposed changes an assault on small business.
Right now, drivers have to feed the meter between 8:00 AM - 6:00 PM on Monday thru Friday.
On Thursday night, city council introduced an ordinance that could change that.
Under the new proposal, lawmakers are debating whether to increase the hours from 8:00 AM - 8:00 PM on Monday thru Saturday.
They're also looking to increase the hourly rate at some meters from $1.00/hour to $1.50/hour.
"I will be at that council meeting defending all the local, small businesses," Maureen Duffy said.
Holding a newspaper that one of her angry customers brought her, the owner of Duffy Accessories said she plans to fight city council.
She calls proposed changes to parking hours and rates in Scranton an assault on small business.
"I don't even think it should be a debate. This is tough times for everybody. The businesses are struggling as is, people don't like paying the price it is now and you're going to increase it? Why don't you just chase businesses away," Duffy said.
The topic has also been a hot topic at the Markowitz Brothers Tobacco Shop.
"The city is just trying to get money anyway they can but it's always on the backs of small people," Georgia Fisch said.
Customers say they don't want to pay to park on Saturday. They think the rate increase would drive people to the nearby malls or strip malls to shop.
"I think it'll drive business out of the area, small businesses. People just won't come downtown," James Cotter of Scranton said.
"I think it's a joke and I think they're out of their minds for even suggesting such a thing," Lee Davis of Scranton said.
As for increasing the enforcement hours from 6:00 PM to 8:00 PM daily, people say that would hurt just as much.
"Maybe First Friday when people have to come downtown and worry about paying for their parking up to 8:00 PM when they used to not have to worry about that, people won't be coming down," Fisch said.
A public caucus with city council on the parking changes is scheduled for 5:15 PM Thursday night.