JEROME -- As Jerome Town Council weighs options for different streams of revenue, one solution they are considering is paid parking on Hull Avenue.
Right now, parking in Jerome is free – but also limited.
One sentiment most in council chambers could agree on: they like seeing tourists pay for things.
According to the last U.S. census, Jerome has a population of 455. Jerome also receives the second-most amount of tourism in the Verde Valley, according to a Northern Arizona University-sponsored Verde Valley tourism survey.
“This is something no one wants to talk about,” said Council Member Jay Kinsella, during Tuesday’s town council meeting “I like seeing visitors pay for things – we’re outnumbered folks.”
Council compared the pros and cons of paid parking in Sedona to inform their discussion. Parking meters went live in Sedona on June 28.
But Liz Gale, owner of Mile High Grill urged council to be careful when comparing Jerome to Sedona.
During ta call to the public Tuesday, she said that while parking kiosks will most likely not be met with “complete opposition” there is still a lot to consider.
“We don’t want to make visitors feel unwelcome,” she said. “We aren’t Sedona and comparing us to Sedona is doing a disservice to ourselves.”
Gale also noted that having paid parking may end up hurting staff who work at local businesses in Jerome.
Mayor Frank Vander Horst said using Sedona is simply a way to make an informed decision.
“It’s something we can learn from,” he said. “Nothing we have to adopt.”
As for residential parking permits, Jerome residents won’t have to cough up any cash. Council unanimously approved Resolution 571 Tuesday establishing a purchase price for certain residential parking permits at zero. Council Member Lew Currier was absent.
Council unanimously approved the tentative budget for the next fiscal year.
“It’s a true budget,” said Kinsella. “Not grants we may never see, no pie in the sky.”
Council may decide to make changes in the budget regarding additional funds for the community art program as well as redistributing funds to increase wages for town staff to keep Jerome competitive with other municipalities.
“It’s not hard to find another job with better wages,” said council member Hunter Bachrach. “We are having trouble keeping staff.”
A public hearing and final adoption of the budget will be held on July 31 at 6:00 p.m. at the City Government Office.
The League of Women Voters will be hosting a Jerome Town Council candidate forum on Wednesday, July 18 from 6:30-8:30 p.m. at the Jerome Fire Department. All five seats are up for election. The candidates are: Alex Barber, Hunter Bachrach, Nick Bartell, Jack Dillenberg, Sage Harvey, Frank Vander Horst and Mandy Worth.
Jerome Town Council will have its next meeting on Tuesday, Aug. 14 at 7:00 p.m. at the Jerome Civic Center at 600 Clark St., Jerome. Agendas and minutes are posted on the town’s website at www.jerome.az.gov.
--On Twiiter: @KelcieGrega