By Jesse Wood
May 31, 2013. At Boone’s budget retreat on Friday, Town Manager Greg Young suggested altering the parking validation method because of lost revenues.
In 2012, the Town of Boone lost nearly $59,658 due to 4,964 parking tickets being validated with the stamps from downtown Boone merchants, who receive an unlimited amount of the stamps.
“It’s a money issue,” Young said, adding that this proposal could either save money or bring in additional revenue.
He offered options for the Boone Town Council to consider, such as eliminating the validation stickers all together and installing meters or giving merchants a set number of stickers with the option for them to purchase more.
In the recent past, the Boone Town Council and the Downtown Boone Development Association discussed installing, as Young described it on Friday, “experimental meters” from the First Baptist Church to Hob Nob Farm Café.
That hasn’t happened yet, but the Boone Town Council and staff continued those discussions on Friday. Currently, the Town of Boone has metered parking on Queen Street, adjacent to the Watauga County Courthouse and talks ensued on taking meters from the Queen Street lot and using the for the test run along King Street in front of Capone’s Pizza
When Blake Brown was asked why the experimental meters hadn’t yet been installed, Brown said, “I was waiting on somebody to tell me to do it.”
Public Works Director Blake Brown said he didn’t think the Queen Street lot had enough single-space meters to use for the test run on King Street. He said a single meter would cost $400 and dual meter for two spaces would cost roughly $700.
Although Council Member Allan Scherlen didn’t speak up on the matter during the morning, Council Members Andy Ball, Lynne Mason and Mayor Loretta Clawson voiced approval of potentially abolishing the validation stickers at some point.
Council Member Jamie Leigh said she was playing “devil’s advocate” on the position during the loose discussion but did say an “alternative” was needed, voicing the need for consistency in the parking pay methods. She added that people “just don’t want to move their car” during their excursions, so they can shop and dine longer in downtown hassle free.
During the first few hours of the retreat on Friday, no decision on the validation stickers was made.