A Stronger Meter System Will Help Revamp Burlington Garages

As the saying goes, parking is the first and last impression of a city, and with some parking garages nearing 50 years of age, city leaders believe it’s time for an upgrade.

“The structural assessment said that all three of the garages need in sum $9 million worth of deferred capital,” said Director of Public Works, Chapin Spencer.

Spencer says improvements will cost less than knocking down the three current garages and rebuilding, and are in line with the city’s ten year capital plan.

“New elevator cabs, we’re talking about a new paint scheme for the garage, also deck repair,” Spencer said were some of the upgrades.

A $2.2 million loan would also start improvements to water management and lighting, hoping to add 15 to 30 years to the lifespan of these garages.

But another loan of about $5 million would have to be taken out next year, and a $9 million loan the year after that to finance the entire project, and pay off prior principal loans.

“Basically the plan is to come back to you with a long term financing, to amortize this over the long term, within a relatively short period of time,” said Burlington Mayor Miro Weinberger.

Spencer says parking revenue should cover the initial loan, but will need to expand to cover the larger loans in the years to come.

“For the next stages to cover the remaining $6 million, we’re going to see how well we can manage the system to grow revenue within our current structure,” Spencer said.

Paying for smart meters with an app on your phone will become available in two weeks it’s one of many ways Spencer hopes will strengthen the system.

“We’ll do those and maybe the balance may be rate increases in years out but we are not there yet,” Spencer said.

Spencer says increasing parking garage hours and potentially leasing out the garage to Burlington residents are other ways to increase parking revenue, but hopes the convenience of a meter app (Parkmobile) will be better for consumers that will be able to fill the meter remotely. The app goes online in the Queen City November 27th.

*This article was posted on Mychamplainvalley.com