After Town Manager Ron Van Winkle proposed extending parking meter hours to increase revenue, a plan has emerged to end the quarter hunt as well as the dash out to the meter halfway through a restaurant meal.
The council's budget approval on Tuesday night includes the assumption that parking meter hours will remain free on Sunday but will be extended on Monday through Saturday from 8 p.m. to 10 p.m. During the evening, however, patrons will be allowed to stay at the meters for four hours instead of two.
Mayor Scott Slifka said the details will likely be worked out in May, but the plan is to install kiosks so that restaurant patrons won't be required to carry pockets full of change.
"We are going to get out of the business of quarters," Slifka said on Tuesday before the meeting.
The meters will have a two-hour limit during the day, Slifka said, because businesses need the turnover. The kiosks, similar to the ones now used in Hartford, will allow drivers to pay with a credit card, cash or coins. The driver will have to print a slip at the kiosk and place it on the car's dashboard.
Slifka said that installing the kiosk system will also eliminate the need to collect and process change from all the meters.
The kiosks "will provide more opportunities to pay outside of coins," Slifka said.