RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - Local federal workers returning to work for the first time in 35 days say they were hit with an unexpected cost, parking.
"(For) a lot of us, this is their only source of income. So when we had the shutdown, we weren’t able to get paychecks,” federal employee John Stumpf said.
Frustrated workers said their regular parking garage is trying to charge them for the month of January.
“When people were called back into work mid-month, they really didn’t have the money to afford the garage,” Stumpf said.
Stumpf said hundreds of workers use the Coliseum Parking deck on 7th Street and it’s $100 to park for the month, but most federal works haven’t gotten a paycheck or worked in 35 days.
“One of the employees said, ‘I only have $50 in cash for me and my kid, it’s suppose to last for me and my kid,’” Stumpf said.
And $50 is just how much the garage wanted from those workers to park for the four days left in January. Many said they just can’t afford it.
“They have my money for the month of January and I didn’t park there at all,” Stumpf said.
Stumpf has another problem, his monthly payments automatically come out at the beginning of each month. Twenty-eight days later and he is parking for the first time this year.
“We get here and we are trying to figure out what is going on, and they are not giving anybody a solid answer,” Strumpf said.
The City of Richmond owns this garage and several others.
“We would like to make sure them returning to work is an easy transition,” spokesperson Sharon North said.
Sharon North works with the City of Richmond Public Works and said the city is stepping up and footing the bill.
“Those who have paid for January, we are going to give them February to try and help out,” North said.
Those who haven’t paid, don’t worry about it for this month.
“There are just four days left in the month and we understand what they have gone through, so we are not going to make them pay for the remainder of this month,” North said.
Stumpf says he and federal employees in Richmond just wanted compassion.
“It’s not like we started last month, we just didn’t think we got the support,”Stumpf said.
If you are a federal worker affected by the parking garage mix-up, you can contact the garage management or Richmond’s Department of Public Work. You will need to bring your Federal ID.