PARKING meters could become a feature of Limerick’s city streets from next year if a plan to install solar-powered machines goes ahead.
Councillors were told on Friday that Limerick “falls behind” other cities where parking meters are in place.
“We don’t match up,” chief executive Conn Murray said. He explained that in previous years, it would not have been possible to consider installing meters because of the huge disruption involved.
However, he continued: “With solar-powered meters we can easily introduce them and we would expect additional income as a result.”
The meters would be far more convenient than discs, he explained, and would give greater access to parking, but added that other options such as online parking would continue. The authority rolled out an e-Parking service earlier this month for parking in the city.
“All options should be available,” he said.
A loan of €149,000 is to be drawn down to cover the cost of installing the meters. However, councillors expressed some surprise that the council expects to generate over €270,000 extra from parking charges and parking fines in 2016.
In the budget figures put before councillors on Friday, income from parking charges and fines for 2016 is estimated at €2.17m, compared to €1.89m this year.
“I have this vision of the mayor going around the city putting tickets on parked cars,” joked Fianna Fail leader Cllr Michael Collins.
The cost of operating the car parking service will also increase from €1.05m to €1.28m. Parking enforcement costs were estimated at €575,740 in the 2015 budget and this figure was exceeded by more than €75,000. But the figure for 2016 is estimated at €742,703.