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The Times
  • Village, business owners disagree on parking meter upgrade

  • The village of Herkimer recently heard a presentation by officials from Ber-National Controls in Syracuse and Digital Payment Technologies in Canada suggesting replacement of the old coin-operated, mechanical parking meters with multi-spaced electronic meters.

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  • While village officials are wrangling over the best option for parking meters downtown, some businesses are scoffing at the idea.
    “How could you put new parking meters in when you have all these empty businesses,” barber Al Moretti said, looking out from his barber shop on to North Main Street in Herkimer.
    Other business owners have expressed similar concerns.
    At one time the parking meters would bring in about $50,000 annually. But now, because of deterioration and vandalism, the funds have dwindled to about $32,000 annually, village Clerk/Treasurer Amanda Viscomi said.
    “We're looking to get the best for the village to generate income from the meters,” village Trustee Tony Brindisi said of the search for new hardware. “We need to very much get our parking meter program back on track.”
    The village recently heard a presentation by officials from Ber-National Controls in Syracuse and Digital Payment Technologies in Canada suggesting replacement of the old coin-operated, mechanical meters with multi-spaced electronic meters.
    The machines would be installed in top-priority areas first, and the old meters from those areas would be moved to replace missing or broken parking meters elsewhere.
    Trustee Bill Markey confirmed the price for those particular machines would be around $15,000 each. The company suggested an initial installation of 14 meters.
    Since that presentation, however, the village has heard from several other places that were less expensive, Markey said.
    Brindisi said they've also looked at retrofitting the meters they already have.
    Aware that some business owners are not happy with parking meters, Markey said he'd be open to other ideas to generate revenue.
    “I'm up in the air about (whether they're a good idea),” he said. “They're only as good as the enforcement out there.”
    The current meters are in effect from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and cost 25 cents per hour.
    Village Mayor Mark Ainsworth said he would not support raising parking prices. He added, however, that some businesses have contacted the village in favor of the meters.
    “You have to have some way to control parking, whether it's meters or tracking tires,” he said. “You could look at increasing fines for parking.”
    Salisbury resident Lucas Sherwood said paying for parking doesn't bother him since he doesn't come to the village often. And sometimes, he said, Moretti gives him quarters to feed the meter when he comes to get his hair cut at the barber shop.
    “I've lost customers if they get a parking ticket,” Moretti said. “They get mad and won't come back to Main Street.”
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