Santa Feans who currently park for free with city-issued permits received a less-than-welcome surprise in their mailboxes.
Beginning Jan. 1, 2012, permit users must cough up $25 for permits that used to come gratis.
Letters went out late last month informing residents that their first two permits will cost $25 and subsequent permits will be $5 a pop, with a limit of four total per household. Residents who don't return the free permits they already have will be fined $21.
The letters blame the global economy for its "impact on many local governments throughout our great nation."
Railyard district resident Jay Durrwachter calls the letter "bizarre" and says the policy is discriminatory, as many areas of the city don't require permits to park.
"If any resident of the city of Santa Fe is able to park on their own street for free, then EVERY resident needs to be able to park on their own street for free," Durrwachter wrote to City Councilor Patti Bushee in a recent letter protesting the policy change.