City buys kiosks for two lots

If spending money is a sign of commitment, the City of Warren has dedicated itself to a new parking plan.

During its August regular meeting held on Monday, Warren City Council approved a bid in the amount of $49,225 from Cale for five kiosks parking pay stations, four to be located in the Midtown Lot and one to be placed at the Clark Street parking garage.

Police Chief Raymond Zydonik said that the cost will be $9,845 per unit and funded via financing approved by council in July.

Councilman Sam Harvey asked how the price compared to the budgeted amount.

City Intern Gregory Wilson, who has spear-headed the parking discussion, said that the budgeted amount was $8,400 and that while the cost of the kiosks was $270 over budget, the remainder of the overage is tied to shipping and installation that was not included in the budget because it would have been free when council entertained the purchase of many more kiosks earlier this year.

In July, council approved the purchase of 221 traditional parking meters that will be purchased through a state contract.

Also on Monday, council approved a fee schedule which addresses the parking plan and set the rate for downtown metered parking at $1 per hour.

An earlier proposal in June called for a charge of $2 per hour but has since been reduced. Rates at the parking garage are still slated for a reduction.

Council received email read by City Manager Nancy Freenock from six individuals. Some criticized the decision to charge out of town residents a higher rate for permit parking and in the parking garage. Others claimed that the $1 per hour is excessive and could harm downtown business.

Councilman Sam Harvey said that non-residents “should still realize they are getting a subsidized rate. (The) subsidy is being borne by the residents of the city. I would support an even wider disparity.

Parking originally became a topic of discussion after Mayor Maurice Cashman commissioned a parking committee shortly after being sworn into office in January. The committee originally called for a plan that included parking kiosks throughout the downtown area as well as monthly permitted spaces, particularly on the 400 block of Pennsylvania Ave. East and Crescent Park.