POMEROY — Parking meters were again the subject of discussion at Monday evening’s Pomeroy Village Council regularly scheduled meeting. The issue of whether parking meters should be reinstalled is being looked at again as a source of revenue as Pomeroy struggles with budget issues.
Several merchants were present, and council listened to their concerns.
Brandon and Rana Bartee were first to address the council. Brandon spoke for them both, and thanked council for all the things they do to encourage growth.
“We appreciate the little things council does to keep the town looking good,” Brandon Bartee said. “Pomeroy has seen a revival in community pride.”
“We are moving into a cashless society, and if meters are reintroduced, they would need to have an updated system that allows electronic payment. Putting cash in meters can be prohibitive, it isn’t the cost of parking, it is how it is paid.”
He explained that most younger shoppers don’t carry cash, and since newer meters use electronic payment methods, they are not prepared to put a quarter in a machine and may simply choose to go elsewhere, especially for spur of the moment shopping.
“The overwhelming opinion of the merchants is that mass enforcement is not the solution,” Brandon Bartee concluded.
River Roasters Coffee Co. owners Larry and Candice Hess have both their business and residence in the downtown area, and said that parking for residents is difficult since the meters expire and require frequent input.
“It is unrealistic,” Hess said, “to expect a business owner to put money in meters or move the vehicle, it is difficult to maintain a business and be concerned about parking. There needs to be a better solution for residents.”
Hess said that he has read several studies that have found no added revenue attributed to meters, and that often money is lost on administration.
“I don’t sell high dollar items, so would my customers pay to park when they just want a cup of coffee, or would they go to McDonald’s instead? I don’t know the answer, but not having meters is working for us.”
The issue was raised by Council that long term parking in front of businesses can be an issue that meters would remedy, and Front Paige Outfitters owner Paige Cleek spoke to that issue.
“It doesn’t happen that often,” Cleek said. “The trade off between that occasional infraction and not having meters is worth it. Council approved taking out the meters in 2017, if they are reinstalled we are moving backward.”
Mayor Don Anderson explained that council would need to look at everything before coming to a decision, but that in light of the defeat of the operating levy on the November ballot, council needed to look at all revenue options.
“The operating levy is critical to having the best police force we possibly can, since that didn’t pass we need to look at all of our options.”
Anderson said that Council would try again to place and pass the levy on the next ballot, and merchants were in support of efforts that would encourage it’s passage, especially if that meant parking meters would not be reinstalled.
In other business, Mitch Altier discussed progress with various projects.
“We have had bumps along the way, but we are almost finished. Our goal is completion using grant money, and I am budgeting accordingly.”
New fire trucks which replaced “old pumper 3” were parked outside, and council members were invited to view the new purchases.
Council approved a motion to allow the fire chief to begin the process of selling the old equipment and also the old pumper 4. Interest in purchasing the old pumper equipment has come from Columbia Township in Meigs and Springfield Township in Gallia.
Employee Group Health Insurance was discussed but a motion to approve tabled due to the necessity of a vote by all Council members.
In a letter to council, American Electric Power asked for a letter of support for House Bill 247 that is currently before the Ohio State Legislature. According to Mayor Anderson, AEP stated the legislation regarding distribution would help AEP to recover costs of improvements more quickly.
Mayor Anderson and council members agreed that more information is needed before making a decision to support the measure..
Council then went into executive session. Upon their return, the discussion was the progress in addressing slips at Liberty Lane, Butternut Avenue and Lincoln Hill, and a culvert blowout at Fisher Street.
Code Enforcement Officer Alan Miles is working with FEMA and stated that the issues would be resolved.
“It just takes time to go through the steps required to receive funding for the projects,” Miles said. “Everything has to be done in a certain order before FEMA decides what part of the projects it will fund, so we have to be patient, repairs will be made.”
The next Pomeroy Village Council meeting will be held at 7 p.m. on Monday, Dec. 2.
Lorna Hart is a freelance writer for The Daily Sentinel.