SANTA ANA ( — It’s official: the price to park will soon increase in Santa Ana.

“I told her, ‘We have to go because we only have about 5 minutes left on the meter,’ ” said Heidi Santa Cruz, a Santa Ana resident.

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But for Cruz and others living in the Orange County city, parking will soon cost more: $1.50 per hour in garages and at most meters.

The increase is 50 cents more per hour at meters downtown, as well as the city’s 2,000 spots in parking structures.

“I don’t think it’s a good time,” Donna Casey, a Huntington Beach resident, said.

But Santa Ana leaders say it’s about time as the City Council this week approved the increase.

“We haven’t raised the rates in the parking garages in over 20 years,” David Cavazos, the Santa Ana City Manager, said.

Cavazos says the estimated additional $1.2 million in revenue each year will be put right back into the downtown.

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“We’re gonna modernize garages, we’re gonna add public safety, we’re gonna add aesthetics, bike sharing. All the things that every downtown wants,” he said.

With more restaurants and bars, the city also plans to add more security cameras and hire four new police officers designated to the downtown area.

“Public safety is a number one priority and people wanna feel safe and comfortable,” he said.

But fear not: everything isn’t going up.

In fact, the cost for an expired meter ticket in Santa Ana is expected to be decreased to $40 from it’s current price of $56.

Despite the increase in meter rates, shoppers and residents admit they like what the extra money will be used for.

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“If it gives people a sense of security and safeness that maybe they are lacking, then certainly, it’s needed,” Casey said.