Council OKs smart meters, stations for downtown parking
by Anna Oakes
The Boone Town Council on Tuesday approved a plan to install "smart" parking meters and pay stations in downtown Boone.
Under the plan, smart parking meters (which accept credit card payments) will be installed at on-street parking spaces and pay stations will be installed in the town's Depot Street and King Street parking lots.
The cost of installation is estimated at $216,875, including annual credit card fees of $16,125, and annual revenue from on-street parking and the Depot Street lot is projected at $247,884, according to information presented to the council Tuesday. The Town Hall parking lot is projected to bring in another $50,500 in yearly revenue.
Town staff worked with McLaurin Parking Company, Boone's parking management contractor, to develop the estimates.
In the coming weeks, the town will begin accepting bid proposals for the meter equipment and installation.
Earlier this month, the Downtown Boone Development Association, a nonprofit that contracts with the town to administer downtown tax dollars, committed an annual amount up to $44,000 for up to three years or until equipment costs are paid in full -- as long as the current sales tax distribution structure remains the same.
The Boone Parking Task Force recommended parking meters or pay stations at public spaces downtown in 2010. The town council began making moves to phase out the current parking validation stamp system and install parking meters as part of spring budget negotiations this year.
DBDA members said parking meters were installed downtown in the past were removed as an incentive to attract customers downtown after the opening of the Boone Mall.