SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (WAND) - The city of Springfield passed its budget for the fiscal year.
Budget Director Bill McCarty said for the first time, money was taken out the general fund and put into the motor vehicle parking fund.
"We are subsidizing an additional $225,000 out of the general fund this year," McCarty said. "Normally we will send $50,000 to the fund, but with the extra $225,000, that gives us a grand total of $275,000."
According to McCarty, the motor vehicle parking fund has been declining over the last several years.
"There's a couple of different reasons for it. Number one, we have a parking garage that's seeing declining revenue over on Washington. It's down to about $60,000 in revenue expected this year. It used to be over $100,000," McCarty said. "Parking meter revenue is down as well. It's about $80,000 down from just four or five years ago."
McCarty said it's important for not only the city, but the taxpayers that the fund get its revenue from.
"If the revenue is not there to support it, then what are we supporting it with ... tax payer revenue," McCarty said. "The taxpayers then have to subsidize something that should be paying for itself. That's why the taxpayers should care."
City Traffic Engineer TJ Heavisides said one of the big things the city is looking to address is replacing outdated parking meters.
"The Sangamon County Regional Planning Commission, they do a study every two years. Last count, there was about 1,400 meters," Heavisides said. "We removed about 20 last year, and another 50 this year, so it's around 1,350 would be my guess."
The meters are so old, when they break down, they can't be fixed.
"The company doesn't make the parts for them anymore, and they won't fix them anymore," McCarty said. "When a meter goes down, we have to take a meter from another area and put it there, otherwise there's no meter at all."
According to Heavisides, this is an inconvenience to the city and the people who live there.
"People will come down and try to put money in a meter and sometimes it gets jammed or it's not functioning," Heavisides said. "They have to come up and tell us that meter isn't working, so they aren't ticketed or if they are ticketed, we have to void the ticket."
The city is currently discussing options on how to improve the parking downtown.
"We're discussing everything from the smart meters that take credit cards and you can have the app to see if a spot is available," McCarty said. "People are talking about kiosks, where you park and walk down to the kiosk to pay. People have also talked about free parking."