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SALT LAKE CITY -- Salt Lake City Mayor Ralph Becker wants to install new electronic parking meters downtown. However, the city council questions the price tag and dependability of the system.
The new system costs $4.5 million. Just over $3 million would buy 344 basic electronic meters. The rest of the money would fund things like installation.
The city faces sagging revenue from parking meter enforcement. Some think new meters may be a solution. The meters would accept debit and credit cards. The city can even buy models that are configured to accept payments via a smartphone. That would be a $600,000 upgrade.
Mayor Becker wants the City Council to expedite a decision on the meters so they can possibly be in place by the opening of City Creek Center, which is expected on March 22, 2012.
Right now, Salt Lake City generates $1.1 million from coin meters. Some say the new system could mean as much as a 50 percent increase in revenue. The machines would communicate with city police and computers in real-time. In theory, officers could quickly respond to violators.
Still, council members aren't sure about the price tag. There have also been some concerns raised about reliability.
The City Council is holding off on a final decision. It approved a 60-day trial of 50 meters. Twenty-five of those would be able to receive remote payments from smartphones; 25 would not. The council hopes to decide the issue by the end of the year.