REVENUE from parking charges in Tullamore has fallen by 72%.
At yesterday’s (Monday, June 11) quarterly meeting of Tullamore Area Committee, Gabriel Conlon told members that revenue had fallen from €1.1 million to €640,000.
Mr Conlon was giving a presentation to members on the Tullamore Draft Parking Bye-Laws 2012.
The bye-laws which are on public display until June 22 with the closing date for submissions July 9, will see a number of changes in parking around the town.
These include the introduction of one hour maximum parking in the centre of town, two hour maximum paid parking in town centre residential areas, and 50 cent per half hour paid parking in all day car parks.
Cllr Dervill Dolan suggested that charges should be reduced as they were introduced during the good times.
“Has there been any consideration about reducing the prices? Tullamore Town Council introduced the charges when money was plentiful. We are living in a different world now. Businesses have had to reduce their cost base. The prices were set when the economy was booming. Now it’s on it’s knees,” said Cllr Dolan adding that the parking regime is encouraging people to shop in areas with no parking charges, such as Athlone. “We should be looking at taking a bold step. The Town Council should be taking an active step in encouraging people into the town centre,” said the Clara councillor.
He also said he was not sure if the bye laws provided enough parking for workers in the town who had an economic contribution to make to the town.
Town Clerk Martin Daly said that parking exceeded the 2025 requirement under the Tullamore Transportation Study. He said people would still be able to park within reasonable proximity to work. He said the bye laws were there to ensure the efficient operation of the town centre. He said it was not about making money, it was about promoting the town centre. “This is a revenue issue. €640,000 is a huge percentage of the town council’s money. It’s a bit disingenuous to say it’s not about money,” said Cllr Dolan.
Mr Daly said it was not about revenue generation and the council had substantial costs.
Town Manager Declan Kirrane said that paid parking was already in existence in 2006 when the council introduced the bye laws and the money went to funding Tullamore Leisure, the development of the Town Park, footpath improvements and towards the Fleadh Ceoil.
“21% of the €640,000 goes on VAT,” he said.
Cllr Tommy McKeigue said the council had no control over Main Street where people continue to be clamped. He said the council should meet with those behind Main Street and try and get them “to buy into this.”
Cllr Paddy Rowland urged people to make submissions.”Each individual can make one, it’s not just residents associations,” he said.
Chairperson Molly Buckley also asked people to make their voices heard. She added that council staff would meet with people if they wanted to come into the Town Council and make a verbal submission.