Source: Lake Geneva Regional News

No Sunday mornings off for parking kiosks

by Steve Targo

July 12, 2012

There’s no Sabbath for parking.

The Lake Geneva City Council on Monday approved an amended parking ordinance that sets metered parking hours from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. from Sunday through Saturday during the summer season running from May 1 to Oct. 31.

The new ordinance changes a long-standing rule that didn’t start the meters until noon on Sunday.

Alderman Alan Kupsik proposed the uniform, seven-day-a-week meter hours for the sake of simplicity.

Kupsik’s amendment was approved 5-3, with council members Sarah Hill, Gary Hougen and Bill Mott voting against. Voting for the change were council members Kupsik, Ellyn Kehoe, Arleen Krohn, Don Tolar and Jeff Wall.

The amended ordinance was also approved 5-3, with the same council members voting for and against.

The city’s old parking ordinance needed updating since the city went from parking meters to a more sophisticated parking kiosk system, and increased its parking rates from 50 cents to $1 per hour, Mayor Jim Connors said after the meeting.

The redundant ordinance was proposed by the city’s parking commission.

The major goal of the parking commission’s proposal was to cut down on the special parking time limits set in the previous ordinance.

The previous ordinance established metered parking stalls with maximum time limits of 12 minutes, 30 minutes, four hours, five hours and 10 hours.

The recently-approved ordinance sets a maximum time limit of five hours paid parking for most city stalls, although some stalls will have special 25-minute limits.

At the end of those time limits, the owner must move his or her vehicle to another stall.

The parking commission’s proposed ordinance kept the later Sunday starting time for metered parking in the Cook Street parking lot, in the 300 block of Broad Street, the 200 block of Cook Street and 800 block of Geneva Street.

However, the decals on the posts with the parking stall numbers for the new kiosk system instruct motorists that metered parking runs from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. No exceptions are noted.

In making his amendment, Kupsik said making the starting and closing times for metered parking uniform for the week would clean up the ordinance and bring practice in line with the posted parking rules.

Hill said she opposed making any changes to the city parking ordinance at this time.

“We’re in a situation of transition with out parking,” said Hill, who argued that the city should slow down and allow visitors and residents get used to the new system.

She added that the decals on the parking stall posts are not correct and need to be corrected and “the machines should be programmed properly.”

Hill also opposed Kupsik’s amendment. She said starting metered parking at 9 a.m. on Sundays means that those who attend services in downtown churches “will have to pay to go to church.”

Also opposed to the ordinance change was former alderman Terry O’Neill. During public comment, O’Neill said voting for the changes in the parking ordinance would show that the council valued “revenues over residents.”

In other city business:

Now that solar-powered kiosks are soaking in the parking fees, what to do with the retired, old-fashioned quarter-gulping parking meters?

Why, you squeeze a few more quarters out of them.

City Administrator Dennis Jordan told members of the city council’s finance, license & regulation committee that people were already calling and asking to buy the city’s old meters.

The city has about 350 mechanical parking meters which are generally considered obsolete for official use, but which may command a price from collectors. The city also has another 650 digital meters that may find uses elsewhere, but need to be reprogrammed. Jordan said the city doesn’t have the capability of reprogramming those meters.

Jordan said he went on e-Bay and found that mechanical parking meters command prices ranging from $14 to $300, although the high-priced meters tended to be older and more rare.

Jordan suggested that the city put the mechanical meters up for $25 each, and $50 for the painted meters, which tend to command a higher price.

The digital meters tend to be priced around $159 each, although the city could adjust the price if a buyer wanted to buy the meters in bulk, Jordan said.

The council approved Jordan’s recommendation unanimously.