The city council has decided to spend nearly half a million dollars to upgrade Lake Geneva’s parking kiosks.
That is a jaw-dropping dollar amount, considering that the existing parking meters were only purchased in 2011.
We are skeptical, to say the least, that this is the best use of our city’s limited resources.
The new fleet of parking kiosks are apparently easier to use than the existing machines. Instead of pushing buttons on the meters, users would enjoy a touch-screen system.
This upgraded system is apparently more intuitive for users. However, we wonder whether the current parking meters are really all that difficult to use.
A user just needs to press any button to get started and follow the simple instructions that appear on the screen.
It requires a little bit of reading, but most people should be able to figure it out.
The upgraded kiosks can’t accept cash — just coins and credit cards. The current system takes all three forms of payment.
Eliminating the ability to use cash seems like a step backward, not forward.
The modems inside of the existing parking meters will reportedly be outdated next year. Why can’t the city simply update the modems? That must cost less than $500,000.
The city spent $6,382 per kiosk about eight years ago. After spending that much money per meter, we question whether it is fiscally responsible to be upgrading the system.
It costs the city an additional $58,275 a year to maintain the existing fleet of 66 parking stations. That’s about $880 a year per kiosk.
Each new kiosk would cost about $7,500. Is the city required to replace the entire kiosk fleet at once? Or could it purchase the upgraded kiosks as the existing ones break?
The money would come from the city’s parking fund, which currently has about $1.5 million in the coffer. That money is allocated for parking, but it really could be used to fund other city projects.
Lake Geneva has needs beyond parking meters. We wonder if that $500,000 could be put to better use by repairing more potholes or funding the needed traffic light on State Highway 120 and Bloomfield Road.
Or that money could be used to provide property owners with tax relief.
We urge the city council to reconsider this expense before moving forward with an expensive and possibly unnecessary upgrade.
The editorial board consists of general manager Robert Ireland, editor Scott Williams and community members Elizabeth Lupo DiVito and Patrick Quinn.