Lake Geneva aldermen have shot down a proposal to offer a parking fee discount to motorists who pay for parking using an online app — and raise rates for those who do not.
City parking operations manager Sylvia Martinez-Mullally proposed the move as a way of encouraging more motorists to use the online app.
Martinez-Mullally estimated that only about five percent of motorists currently use the online option, electing instead to pay for parking at a streetside kiosk.
She offered members of the city council public works committee multiple options: increasing parking fees to $2 an hour city-wide, while charging app users just $1.50 an hour; increasing parking to $2 an hour city-wide, while charging app users $1 an hour; or increasing premium lakefront parking to $3 an hour, while charging app users $2 an hour.
Aldermen on the public works committee voted against considering any of the proposals.
Alderman Richard Hedlund said this is not the right time to raise parking fees, considering that the city has increased parking rates in various locations during the past two years.
“I think people are going to get tired if every year we gamble with parking rates,” Hedlund said.
The committee voted down the idea on Feb. 12 by a narrow 3-2 margin.
Alderman Ken Howell said he also would not be in favor of making any changes to parking rates this year, and possibly consider offering a discount for app users in upcoming years.
“I think we need to do nothing right now,” Howell said. “You’re penalizing everyone else who is not using an app.”
Alderwoman Cindy Flower, who voted to consider the changes, said offering a price break would encourage more people to use the online app, and maybe the city then would need fewer parking kiosks. The city recently agreed to spend about $500,000 to purchase 66 new touch-screen parking kiosks.
“Maybe the next time they need to be replaced, it would be half of the kiosks that would be necessary because everyone would be using the app,” Flower said.
The matter has not been scheduled for any additional consideration by the city council or another committee.