Could Downtown parking meters benefit city’s $800,000 bathroom and parks?

190425 Downtown Parking Meter Map Study 600x344 - Could Downtown parking meters benefit city’s $800,000 bathroom and parks?
Map of downtown parking.

Darron Agawa, Project Manager, City of Branson Public Works Engineering Department, made a presentation to the Branson Board of Aldermen on the recent “Downtown Branson Parking Meter Study” conducted by the engineering department. The purpose of the study was to see if parking meters in Historic Downtown Branson would generate revenue.

Parking meters would generate needed revenue

The revenue would be used for improving and maintaining the downtown area. This includes funds for the completion of the last two remaining phases of the Downtown Improvement Project, maintenance of completed and future phases, and the future expansion of downtown parking. The presentation provided a comparison of the parking meters from several different companies parking meters and how their installation can generate revenue from the 433 downtown parking spaces.

$60,000 to maintain $800,000 bathroom and completed downtown improvements

In pointing out the need for more revenue to complete and maintain downtown projects City Administrator Stan Dobbins said, “One of the things that is down there right now that’s an anchor around my neck is an $800,000 bathroom. There were never any funds set aside or identified to maintain that $800,000 bathroom. So currently what has happened is that the maintenance of the downtown region has been given to the Parks Department. That created a loss to the Parks Department in their budget of approximately $60,000 just to maintain what we have done.” Dobbins said that this is money that is not available to the Parks Department for things that our surveys indicate people want such as trails, programs, etc.

Historic Downtown has 433 parking spaces

Agawa said that of the city’s 433 parking spaces, 277 of them are off-street in parking lots and 156 spaces are on-street parking. Currently, except for parking ticket revenues, the 433 spaces generate no revenue for the city. City Administrator Stan Dobbins pointed out that it is estimated that the city collects around $8,000 per year from parking tickets and it costs about $40,000 in personnel salary costs alone to do that.

The parking meters studied are state of the art machines, that can automate the process all the way from collecting the fee for the parking spot, to notifying the customer that they are about to run out of time, and enforcement. Agawa pointed out that the multi-space meters provide more flexibility and efficiency for the city as well as a better experience for the customer.

Multi-space parking meters provide most flexibility and best customer experience

With multi-space units a customer could park their car at the Hot Hits Theatre on Commercial Street and go to the kiosk near their car to pay for their parking. Part of the payment process is the entering of your license plate number into the system. That customer then shops downtown and enters a restaurant to eat, only to realize that they are about to run out of time on their parking meter. They can go to any multi-space meter and extend their parking time. If the original meter had been single/duel meter that would not have been possible. The customer would have had to go back to the original meter to extend their parking time.

Two different options for parking meters

Two different options were presented. Option One would have single/duel meter for the 156 on-street parking spaces and multi-space meters for the parking lots. Option Two uses multi-space meters for all downtown parking except for a few situations where it would be necessary to use the single/duel meters.

Option Two provides for multi-space meters for all downtown parking except for single/duel meters in those situations where the multi-space meters are not practical. This would involve 37 multi-space meters with a combination of and dual meters. This would cost $258,182 if purchased from IPS, the company providing the cheapest estimate and one of the top firms in the industry.

Agawa said that projections based using Option Two, indicate that the system could be paid off in less than six months. This uses a rate of $1.00 per hour for parking and assumptions for each hour that each space would be used per day and the rate of occupancy during the “Off Peak” and “Peak” periods of the year

During the Off-Peak Period, it is estimated that the 433 spaces will be 25% occupied 8 hours per day for the 90 days of the period at $1.00 per hour and that they will be occupied for 60% of the time during the Peak Period. This results in a projected monthly net income of $50,579, including vendors fees.

Parking Meters for downtown must be presented to Board of Aldermen

The purpose of the presentation at the study session was to see if the board of aldermen had any interest in pursuing the matter further for presentation to the board. Although no formal vote is taken at any study session it was obvious they did.

The public works department engineering staff will be bringing the issue forward through the normal channels to present to the board for a formal vote. This may or may not include discussion at a future Study Session, but will include, a formal presentation to the Board at one of their regularly scheduled meetings where the Board will take formal action to either proceed with the installation of parking meters downtown or not.