A larger discussion on the capital budget prompted the council to wonder are parking meters needed, and if so, should we go low-cost and utilize old meter technology or spend more on more convenient, modernized meters?
The overall capital request for the parking utility came in at around $382,000, mostly in the form of repaving or reconstructing lots, Village Manager Ken Gabbert told the council Wednesday night. He sliced all but $32,000, all but money set aside to replace the parking meters.
Mechanisms break, Gabbert said. "If we were not to keep up with parking meters – they get damaged al the time – we'd have more that don't work. That would affect revenue greatly."
Pressed by Mayor Paul Aronsohn, the manager said a study a few years ago revealed the village brings in and spends roughly the same amount on the parking utility – about $380,000 annually.
Should the village replace all the existing meters with kiosks or stations that allow citizens to pay be card, it would be "a sizable investment." Money is, he reminded the council, tight.
But Councilwoman Gwenn Hauck offered a different suggestion – why not swap out the old meters that break with new machines?
Besides demonstrating "mixed messages" on the village maintaining infrastructure, it could prompt people with mal-intentions to take matters into their own hands, Gabbert said.
"More meters would be damaged," he added.
Ultimately, reasoned Deputy Mayor Albert Pucciarelli, a greater conversation needs to be had when it comes to the meters in town.
It led him to repeat a familiar hymn – if the business community already thinks parking meters are bad for business in the busiest of times, why do it at all?
A substantive discussion will be had over the next few months, Gabbert said.
What do you think? What should the council do with the parking meters?