The Herald Bulletin

Morning Update

Local Business

September 14, 2013

Balky parking meters, tickets frustrate downtown business patrons

(Continued)

Richwine said a possible fix is in the works.

Included in the Police Department's proposed budget for fiscal 2014 is an $18,200 line item to fund two part-time parking positions.

Anderson police have been responsible for downtown parking enforcement since 2004, Richwine said. The city used to have a parking authority to handle those duties and maintain the downtown garage at Meridian and 11th streets, but the jobs were eliminated in budget cuts.

And Anderson doesn't make much money from parking meters, either. In 2012, Richwine said, the city collected $7,145.36. So far this year, the city has collected $2,787.92.

Until those positions are approved, however, the duty of making sure Anderson's 50 parking meters work properly is the job of Jeff Delong, maintenance supervisor for the police department.

As he was checking the lot and collecting money last Monday, Delong found six broken meters facing Meridian Street.

The most common reason they stop working, he said, is that people insert nickels and dimes into the meters instead of the required quarters.

Those coins won't drop properly and, if enough of them collect, they jam the mechanism so that it's impossible to turn the meter knob. Unless someone notifies the police department that the meters aren't working, it might be several days or more before he swings by to check them.

"If a meter is broken, you've got to let someone know," Delong said.

Richwine said having staff to handle those duties regularly would ensure more reliable operation and better parking enforcement.

Claudette Bettencourt, who owns Your Way Cafe and Conscious Creations at 1019 Meridian St., said problems at the meter lot are well known among her customers.

"As a business person, I'm happy to give customers a quarter for coming into my two downtown stores. I think that whatever they (police) do should be consistent."

Like Stu Hirsch on Facebook and follow him @stuhirsch on Twitter, or call 640-4861.

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