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March 14, 2013

Trustees choose parking machines

(Continued)

Since the screens can be replaced in the parking unit, trustee Lynn Mebust suggested that the board could save $7,000 by only getting color screens for the six machines in the highest-use areas and upgrading the rest later. Trustee Ellen Tillapaugh agreed with Mebust, but Dean, Faulk and deputy mayor Walter Franck were steadfast that all of the machines have color screens. The vote ended up being unanimous. Trustee Frank Capozza was not at the meeting.

Mayor Jeff Katz said that even at the lowest projections for revenue, the machines will pay for themselves in about five weeks.

“Our initial first-time costs are already lower than we anticipated because we were looking at $12,000 machines (for coin, card and bills), and these machines are cheaper,” Katz said. “Even at the low projection of 60 percent — and the ones at Doubleday are closer to 100 percent — we’d make our money back in half the season.”

Starting with Falk’s research, the board members had quickly concluded that the machines that took bills were not only more expensive but more likely to jam than the ones that take just coins and cards.

ATI’s presentation included studies that 50 percent or more of all transactions are now done by bank or credit card. Some of their clients are closer to 90 percent.

Katz and several board members also indicated their desire to look into a program that ATI offers through a vendor partner to print and buy tokens for the machines. ATI’s sales representative Todd Schroeder said that many of his municipal clients find that local business like to buy the tokens to give to their customers.

“Maybe you sell them those tokens at a discount, and maybe you don’t,” he said at ATI’s presentation two days before the final vote.

The machines will be installed around Memorial Day and stay active for 10 weeks. It is unknown if the machines will be uninstalled and stored during the winter, or covered and left out, but they will be inactive. ATI’s contract calls for continued maintenance fees during the off-season, but the fees are smaller than in-season fees, and comparable to the re-start fees that Hectronic charges on inactive accounts.

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