The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA


September 17, 2012

Sunbury's parking meter revenue shrinks

SUNBURY —  A decline in Sunbury’s parking meter collections might be because people are finding other places to park instead of plugging quarters into one of the nearly 1,000 meters the city owns.

Sunbury has collected about $34,000 so far in 2012, a little more than half of the $76,000 the city collected in all of 2011.

In 2010, the city collected $78,000, which included $4,000 in December — the month the city usually offers free parking. That’s because Sunbury did not bag meters in 2010, so some motorists continued to feed them. In 2011, the city bagged the meters.

The city sells yearly permits, which allow motorists to park anywhere there is a meter without inserting coins.

They sell for $300. This year, the city sold 30.

Part of the decline in revenue may be due to commuters who are using free parking created when the city wooed the state CareerLink employment office to Sunbury.

The CareerLink lot sits directly behind City Hall. The lot also is used by city and county vehicles.

The Elks Club also has a small section of the lot.

When CareerLink moved into City Hall in June 2011, it was given 80 spots for clients to use.

No one can really tell who is using the 80 spots because it is impossible for either police or CareerLink officials to monitor the lot.

“We would have no idea who parks there,” CareerLink administrator Sue Snyder said. “I know the police try and monitor it but it is hard because they have other things going on.”

No validation cards are needed when using the spaces, so if people have city business to conduct, they can use the spots and not have any worries about getting a ticket or being towed.

“Every now and again the police will call us and ask us if one of the cars in the spots belongs there,” Snyder said. “But it is really hard to tell.”

Sunbury Police Chief Steve Mazzeo said police do not routinely patrol the lot.

“They monitor it themselves,” he said. “If there is a problem they call us.”

Sunbury pays a part-time meter maid about $15,000 a year to ticket vehicles.

City officials said when it’s time to pick up the money, the meter maid and another city employee walk together to ensure nothing is stolen.

City Treasurer Beth Kremer then banks the money.

Violation totals for parking fines and street sweeping violations were $61,450 in 2009. In 2010, those collections hit $65,551.

In 2011, the city collected $65,562. To date for 2012, the total is $41,956.

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