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Sun, Oct. 20

Jerome Council gives green light to purchase of kiosks

Police Chief Allen Muma talks to the Jerome Town Council on Thursday. The Council voted unanimously to purchase six parking kiosks for the town. VVN/Vyto Starinskas

Police Chief Allen Muma talks to the Jerome Town Council on Thursday. The Council voted unanimously to purchase six parking kiosks for the town. VVN/Vyto Starinskas

JEROME -- In one small leap, the Jerome Town Council voted unanimously to purchase six parking kiosks for the town Thursday.

Town officials view the kiosks as a means for raising revenue to help pay for infrastructure problems facing the small tourist community.

Council members even remarked and smiled about the public comments made about their long, exhaustive search for the right kiosks for Jerome.

The town at first received a bid for the management and purchase of six kiosks. Council members agreed that option was too expensive, and took more time to investigate alternatives to run the kiosks themselves at a savings for the town.

Council members wanted kiosks that printed receipts for motorists, matched fees to individual license plates and will allow them to program the names of people who are exempt from the parking fees such as town staff and residents.

Those details, along with exact fees and fines, will still have to be finalized at an upcoming meeting.

Thursday, council members approved Flowbird Urban Intelligence as the company from whom the town will purchase kiosks, software and support. The council approved $125,000 in a line-item in the budget to pay for the kiosks and supporting software, Town Manage Candace Gallagher explained.

It will take eight weeks to build the kiosks. They will be programmed with Jerome’s specific needs.

Police Chief Allen Muma recommended Flowbird after reviewing proposals from other companies. He said he talked with parking officials in Flagstaff, Sedona and Grand Rapids, Mich., before his recommendation.

One feature he really liked was that Flowbird linked with the Whoosh parking app that allows motorists to purchase parking passes while driving to Jerome. Whoosh also notifies motorists when time is running out on their meter.

He said Flowbird’s kiosks have large displays, provide paper receipts and have an option for cash payment.

Motorists will “pay by plate,” meaning each car will get a receipt and they will put it on their dashboard. Jerome police will monitor violators with electronic readers and write tickets.

The chief said Flowbird has offered a five-year warranty on their kiosk system, so he thought he could manage it under the police department with the assistance of the company’s warranty.

In an earlier meeting, Muma said his police department would try to do the enforcement of the parking tickets without initially adding any more staff to the police department.

The council is still reviewing details on where to put the six kiosks.

They will be strategically placed so motorists can retrieve their license plate information quickly when paying.

Chief Muma said the officials he spoke with in Flagstaff suggested that Jerome start out with paid parking in a “friendly manner.” Flagstaff started out with first-time warnings and kept track of repeat offenders, he said.

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