Syracuse could lose more than 30 percent of its parking revenue come November. The company that operates the data network that allows the nearly 300 parking meters to offer credit card payments will end their service this fall. The Syracuse common council is proposing a $2.5 million, three year plan to either find a new provider or replace the current parking meters. Our Katie Gibas tells us, in a financial time where city councilors say Syracuse could be broke in just two years, it's a tough decision to make.
SYRACUSE, N.Y. -- These pay stations have been the center of a controversial and heated a discussion among Syracuse Common Councilors. Come November, drivers won't be able to pay for parking with a credit card. That's why councilors need to move quickly.
The proposal to replace them was already voted down last week. But that didn't mean the end of the issue.
"It's imperative, I think as councilors, that we review these things. It’s our fiduciary responsibility to look at these things, so the more discussion we have on it, the better," said Syracuse Common Councilor Nader Maroun.
Councilors then drafted a plan that will allow them to move forward with borrowing money for the project without committing to replace the meters. Wednesday, councilors were supposed to vote on the new plan at a special meeting. The vote was pushed back to Monday.
"We've been dialoguing on this for a couple of months, so with all of the issues that have arisen, I think as we've had this dialogue, everything has been put in place, so we can be prepared to once the vote goes through to move the bid process forward," said Syracuse Common Councilor Helen Hudson.
At this point, there are two options: Find another provider to manage the data network to allow people to pay with credit cards or purchase all new machines. The new proposal would approve borrowing nearly $850,000 for the project without committing to either option. The total over three years is not to exceed $2.54 million.
"Do we need to replace all these meters going forward? And if so, can we afford to do it in light of our fiscal status. I think those are the majority of the issues," said Maroun.
Hudson, "Everything that everyone had a concern about is built into the bidding process."
Hudson says she's confident the council will approve the plan at their meeting Monday.
If the council approves the bonding for the project Monday, the Department of Public Works will then go out for a competitive bid on the equipment and services to implement the program.