IT'S HOPED that reducing the pay-paying charge from €1.30 an hour to €1 an hour will attract more people to the town centre, councillors heard at their annual budget meeting.
Pay-parking charges and fines brought in €1,191,000 for the council's coffers this year and the local authority is prepared to see this drop to an expected €957,000 in 2013. It is hoped that it might boost trading activity in the town centre.
This new €1 charge for parking on town centre streets and short-term car parks will apply all year round, with a reduced charge of €3 per day in the long term car parks, with no free-parking on Saturdays of Bank Holiday weekends. It wasn't envisaged that the charge would be reduced in the run-up to Christmas, said senior executive officer Mr Dave Storey.
The meeting also heard that it's planned to replace the 100 or so pay parking machines in town in the coming year.
Councillors objected to the introduction of a residents' permit for those living in pay-parking area, saying that a €12.50 charge per vehicle was too much.
Mr Storey said that such permits cost €50 in Dublin, €20 in Cork and €25 in Mullingar.
Town Clerk Mr Frank Pentony told Cllr Martin Bellew that it wouldn't be possible to issue a permit per household as a permit must be displayed on each vehicle.
Cllr Kevin Meenan complained that pay parking had been introduced as a traffic management issue not as a revenue stream.
Cllr Mark Dearey protested that he didn't think the timing was right to introduce a parking permit and it wouldn't be worth the resistance which would be towards it.
He proposed that they make savings in another area and after a short adjournment councillors agreed that the money be taken out of the roads programme.
Cllr Maria Doyle welcomed the reduction in pay-parking, saying it was nice to have some good news for a change.