There will be a new way to pay for parking in Brunswick next year.
Brunswick’s City Council approved the purchase of 11 pay stations for the downtown area, which will replace the current parking meters. With the new solar-powered pay stations, people can pay for parking with a credit card, cash or coins, or use a mobile app such as ParkMobile.
Meters currently line West Potomac Street. It costs 25 cents an hour to park, with a maximum of two hours.
The new Luke Cosmo pay stations, which the city will purchase from T2 Systems, can be operated so that a person can pick a spot, enter their license plate number or get a printed ticket to display in their car windshield. The pay-and-display option is likely what Brunswick will use, said City Administrator David Dunn.
The pay stations will have a backlit window that will display the city logo, according to a presentation at the council meeting on Tuesday. They also feature the ability to advertise.
One feature that could be helpful is the ability to easily move the pay stations, Dunn said.
The 11 pay stations will cost about $90,000, which might come from the city’s reserve funds or from any surplus in the budget at the end of the year. The council will have to approve a budget amendment for the purchase, Dunn said, which will likely happen toward the end of the year.
Other monthly fees will be associated with the pay stations as well, Dunn said.
The council will need to write more legislation if it wants to raise the price of parking per hour, he said.
The pay stations will go up about eight to 10 weeks after the city puts an order in, Dunn said. That means they will likely be up by the end of the first quarter.
Councilwoman Angel White said at the meeting that she inquired years ago about bringing pay stations to the city. She used to have a business downtown and wished these pay stations had been there when she owned it.
“I absolutely think this will be a better solution for our parking and aesthetics downtown,” she said.
While the majority of council members were in favor of the new pay stations, Councilman Vaughn Ripley voted against the measure.
The new pay stations appear to be more work, Ripley said in an interview Wednesday. Right now, people just need to pop a quarter or two into the meter to pay. They can also use ParkMobile to pay for parking electronically.
And while he understands not everyone has change in their car, Ripley said at the meeting that $90,000 was a “tough pill to swallow.”
But others, including Dunn, pointed out that the new pay stations would advance the city.
“It’s progress,” Dunn said. “We can sit around here and talk about keeping our quarter meters all you want, but at some point you’ve got to get into the 1990s.”