CLARKS SUMMIT- Clarks Summit Borough Council toyed with the idea of re-configuring its parking meter layout Feb. 26 during a work session.
George Carros, who maintains the borough’s 140 meters, appeared before council to provide information on the meters.
Twenty-one of those meters allow motorists extended parking for up to 10 hours. Those meters are distributed throughout the borough, including six on Depot Street. Carros said those are primarily used by shop employees.
Council entertained the possibility of moving the 10-hour meters to accommodate employees who work in the Clarks Summit business district. Carros explained that he did not know the rationale behind the original distribution of the 10-hour meters.
Council member Herman Johnson said he wants the meters to be laid out in a more thoughtful manner.
“Employees don’t have a lot of parking spots,” he said. They (employees with only regular meters nearby) have to keep on running out putting quarters in.”
He suggested installing 10-hour meters in more “centrally-located” spots to accommodate business employees, including more of the 10-hour meters on Main Avenue, which currently has three 10-hour meters. Council agreed that it would again meet with Carros to determine whether the meters could be arranged to make parking more convenient for shop employees.
The current rate at the regular meters is 50 cents for two hours of parking; regular meters accept nickels, dimes and quarters. The rate at the 10-hour meters is 50 cents for five hours of parking; they accept quarters only.
All meters were recently inspected by the state when they were temporarily removed during the Clarks Summit Festival of Ice to provide free parking to visitors, Carros said.
He added that spiders, traffic vibrations, low batteries and coin jams are the primary reasons some meters malfunction.
The issue of parking meter rates came up, and Carros explained that upping meter rates would require that the meters be returned to the factory for re-calibration.
Council president Gerrie Carey suggested raising the penalty for parking violations rather than raising rates. The current fine is $5 if the fine is paid within in 48 hours and $10 thereafter.
In other business, representatives Dick Yarmey and Mike Hargrove, from the Abington Area Joint Recreation Board, appeared at the council’s request.
Council member Roy Davis asked the representatives to bear in mind that the borough tax base has dwindled in recent years and Clarks Summit’s payments for the upkeep of the Abington Area Community Park place a financial strain on the borough.
“We want to pay our fair share,” Davis said.
But he expressed concerns that the borough was being asked to pay too much.
“I know they’re still binding,” he said of the agreements that formed the park about four decades ago. “But I don’t know if they’re appropriate.”
The Abington Area Joint Recreation Board representatives explained that most money Clarks Summit pays goes to park maintenance. The building projects are funded by state grants and money from fundraisers, they said.
Council member Patty Lawler said Clarks Summit has the largest senior population - 18 percent of residents - of all the municipalities with a stake in the park. She and Davis said payments to the park might place extra strain on the borough and force it to raise taxes, which would saddle seniors with more of a financial burden.
Clarks Summit owns a stake in the park proportionate with its population with respect to the population of the other boroughs.
The borough contributed $15,602.32 in 2012 and has been asked to give $15,832 this year, a 1.5 percent increase from 2012.
South Abington, Clarks Green, Glenburn and Waverly also own a stake in the park.