People stopping in downtown Beaufort will receive a holiday gift of two hours' free parking, starting Thanksgiving and ending New Year's Day.
Beaufort City Council unanimously approved Tuesday the return of the annual program, which will work the same way as in 2013. People who park for more than two hours will be able to pay for additional time.
Meters will be decorated with red bows and information about the two-hour free parking program when it goes into effect.
City manager Scott Dadson said the city's expiring contract with parking management company Lanier Parking will not affect the program. The contract expires Nov. 4, but Dadson said he intends to extend it on a month-to-month basis.
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The five-year contract does not include an extension clause. City ordinances limit multi-year contracts to five years, and such contracts must be approved by City Council.
The city is considering proposals from four of the companies who responded to a request for a parking manager, and council is expected to vote on a contract Nov. 18.
While large contracts and extensions are typically voted on by City Council, Dadson said he has been told by the city's attorney, Bill Harvey, that he has the authority to approve the extension.
Mayor Billy Keyserling said after Tuesday's meeting that he did not realize the current contract was expiring two weeks before council is set to vote on a new one.
He said he's uncomfortable with the city manager approving that extension without a council vote, and will check with Harvey on the on the legality of the extension.
Follow reporter Erin Moody at twitter.com/IPBG_Erin.