Fort Smith may revamp its parking with new meters that take payments via cards and a mobile app and simultaneously increase rates and fines.
Replacing the 435 meters would cost about $217,500, City Administrator Carl Geffken said Tuesday at the Board of Directors' study session. Parking meter rates have not increased since 1985.
The city is proposing:
• Garrison and Rogers Avenues meters increase from 25 cents to 50 cents per hour.
• All non-Garrison and -Rogers Avenues meters change from 25 cents per hour to 25 cents for 40 minutes.
• No fee for parking lot on Second Street.
• Fines increase from $5 to $10.
• Parking meters upgraded to smart meters with the ability to accept debit/credit cards, payment by app and coins.
• All meters must accept two hours of payment.
• Replacing the parking attendant location with a parking gate.
• Performing required repairs to the parking deck for $62,742. The contract was approved at the Dec. 5 meeting.
• That the deck repairs, new automated gate and new parking meters be paid for from the parking fund, which has $350,000.
The city is looking to keep parking at night and weekends free because there is one full-time parking attendant to enforce the paid parking, Geffken said. Otherwise, the city would have to hire another attendant or pay the the sole parking attendant overtime.
The Board of Directors was set to vote on raising parking meter rates and fines in early October but opted to hold off on a decision until the city could further discuss the matter with the Central Business Improvement District (CBID) and other downtown development groups. An idea that came out of a meeting with the CBID is the possibility of leasing parking spaces to business owners who want to rent the spots in front of their businesses, which Geffken said is an option.