City Council members say they are still hearing complaints about the new downtown meters, and they addressed the issue during a meeting on Monday night, March 18.
Councilman Dr. Joseph Marzzacco stated that some quarters don't work in certain meters. He said this would be understandable if the quarters that didn't register were damaged or weren't minted by the United States — but that isn't the case. He argued that some meters aren't working properly because they're not accepting perfectly good quarters.
"They should take all of them," he insisted. "We paid a lot of money for those meters."
Mayor Justin Taylor assured him that the city will check the meters in question, just as every other reportedly broken or malfunctioning meter has been tested to date. Chris Pezak, the city's code enforcement officer, said he routinely checks meters while he is out collecting coins from them or performing his other duties.
"I've never found one yet that hasn't worked properly," he offered.
Council president Kathleen Connor stated that "it seems Main Street is very empty" since the meters were installed there.
Marzzacco responded that this is a positive development, pointing out that "now you can find a place to park in front of a business."
Councilman John Gigliotti agreed, stating that the meters have displaced "people who were leaving their cars parked there [on Main Street] all day long."
"Now there's flow," he noted.
In the past, Marzzacco said, most of those spaces were taken up by business owners, their employees and tenants.
"But we have to do something about Church Street, because they've all gone there," he added.
Taylor replied that the city has begun installing meters on Church St., and he said more meters will be going in along that street as soon as new poles and housings have been delivered.
In the meantime, Councilman Francis Lagana asked Taylor if the city has any old meters which can be installed on North Main St. between Salem and Lincoln avenues. He complained that seven motorists are parking their vehicles on that block daily because there aren't any meters in those spots as of yet.
"If you put seven meters in there, you'll get [be able to ticket] seven cars every single day," he assured.
When Lagana was told that those motorists would simply move their vehicles once meters were installed, he insisted that the city should still put them in there.
Marzzacco concurred, stating, "Francis is right."
Taylor replied that the city has some old electronic meters, but he said they only charge a dime an hour.
"So they would have to be sent back to be recalibrated," he offered, "then they'd still have to be certified."
Page 2 of 2 - He said even if all this were done, the city wouldn't be able to install them without the awaited delivery of accessories.
"As of right now, I have no poles," he explained.
Taylor said there are handicapped parking issues to be resolved as well, with regard to the meters and downtown parking spots. He also informed council that meters have been installed in front of the Pioneer Plaza. He said they went in as soon as the work fences in front of the property came down.
Marzzacco noted that plaza developer Daniel Siniawa shouldn't have a problem with that, since the meters will benefit his project.
"Who's going to use the parking garage [which will be part of the new plaza] if they can park for free on the street?" Marzzacco pointed out.
In a related matter at the meeting, council approved the parking meter attendant's monthly report. The report showed some $11,000 in gross income from the meters in February.