The Jerome Town Council still wasn’t ready to move forward on whether to implement parking kiosks as of Tuesday’s regular meeting.
Council Member Mandy Worth recommended the discussion be put off until council gets more information.
“I went into this assuming the answers were already answered,” she said. “I don’t know if we should have ever gotten as far as we are in this conversation and research process without the answers to those questions.”
For one thing, Worth said, the town still doesn’t know whether the Arizona Department of Transportation will allow the town to charge for parking along State Route 89A.
The town has been weighing different methods to solve its costly infrastructure problem. Paid parking as a revenue source to some in the community resolves some of these problems.
Vice Mayor Sage Harvey advised staff to start slow from what was originally envisioned.
“I think that if we do this, we need to start smaller,” she said. “Because we are going to freak the town out if we just plop a bunch of parking kiosks in town.”
Harvey said she has already received resistance from citizens.
“The locals are going to flip out and a lot of the locals that don’t live here in Jerome, that come here to visit … lots of remarks on the survey I shared online,” she said. “People don’t like it, people don’t want it, it’s going to upset them so I really think we need to start slow.”
Over the past several months a workforce made up of Worth, Mayor Alex Barber and various community business owners and stakeholders have met to discuss the feasibility of parking kiosks.
One of the biggest divides in these discussions was whether to implement a donation box method instead of a paid-parking system.
Eric Jurisin, owner of Haunted Hamburger and Grapes, favored the donation box method saying that they cost the town nothing and align with the community spirit of Jerome.
Jerome Fire Chief Rusty Blair questioned the effectiveness of donation boxes as a revenue source.
At Tuesday’s meeting, Council Member Jack Dillenberg said, “Jerome is in a critical state right now,” and “we just can’t keep putting this off.” He asked what “Plan B” would entail if paid-parking is not enacted.
He said he had no problem starting small, “but we have to do something.”
Council directed staff to obtain additional information. Worth said she will continue to dialogue with a vendor that may be able to provide cheaper equipment for a donation-based trial run.