Bar Harbor could take in $1M in parking fees this summer



BAR HARBOR — The town is now taking in about $10,000 per day from parking meters and kiosks, Town Manager Cornell Knight told the Town Council Tuesday.

Gross revenue since the meters and kiosks were activated a month ago has been $181,000, he said. “Most are through credit cards, 88 percent of transactions, and 12 percent are cash.” The meters and kiosks accept quarters but no paper currency.

Payment is also accepted through a mobile app called ParkMobile. It has been usable with the kiosks for several weeks, but the stickers allowing motorists to use the app for meters spots were only put up this week.

“The ParkMobile total is pretty low, $7,000, but we’ve just gotten all the stickers onto the meters yesterday so that number should start to go up significantly,” Knight said.

“If you do the math,” Councilor Gary Friedmann said, “100 more days would be July, August, September … that’s a million dollars.”

The police department, which supervises parking and traffic enforcement, has begun issuing tickets to vehicles that stay in meter or kiosk spots for long than they’ve paid for, he said.

Tickets are not yet being issued for permit parking violations because the permit application system only went live Wednesday evening, June 12.

Permit parking areas are most of the residential side streets in the downtown area.

By Tuesday’s meeting, Knight said, 940 people have applied for parking permits through the online system on thepermitportal.com. Of those, 730 have been approved, 72 rejected, and 104 paid.

Some applications were rejected because the vehicle registration submitted was expired, he said. Some applications for employee parking permits were rejected because the proof of employment submitted was a business card, not a pay stub or signed letter from the employer as required.

Matthew Hochman, vice-chair of the council, told the Islander Tuesday that town officials met with four different potential vendors for the permit system before choosing to contract with IPS Group, operator of permitportal.com.

The decision was made after an 8-hour meeting, he said.

“The rollout was a bit rougher than I would’ve liked,” he said. “There were some delays while we had the company do some custom things for us, so it wasn’t quite as smooth as I had hoped. But now the website is up and running, and for the most part, people seem to be able to get their permits pretty well.”

According to Hochman, it wasn’t possible for the town to simply give every resident a permit. Even though residents register their vehicles in the town office, “we don’t have access to people’s registrations,” he said.

“That’s for the state of Maine, not the town of Bar Harbor. And I know that I would be very, very uncomfortable with the municipality handing out my information to a third party.”

Asking residents and employees to upload a photo or scanned version of their own registration is a way for the information to be voluntarily shared, he said.

Anyone applying for a parking permit must agree to a lengthy Terms of Service and Privacy Police document from the IPS Group, and some have expressed concerns about the terms.

But Brian Booher, who serves on the town’s Communication Technology Task Force, he told the Islander that the language on IPS’s policy seems pretty standard.

“It’s going to be harder and harder to live in 2019, 2020 and try to maintain privacy,” he said. “But before one would get all alarmist about the policy, you’ve got to step back and say, ‘Wait, this is why the town doesn’t collect email addresses as a rule.’ You can voluntarily give your email address. They’re trying to protect your privacy.”

Those who do not have a computer or need assistance may go to either the library or the town office for help registering for a parking permit.

According to Ann Thomas, who is the Jesup’s research and outreach coordinator, not many people have come to the library for help with the permit application yet.

“I’ve had a half dozen people come in and asked, but many didn’t have the required documents,” said Laura Edwards, the library’s circulation manager, noting that a copy of a current vehicle registration is required.

On Tuesday, Edwards sat down with library coworker Mae Corrion to apply for a permit for Corrion so that they could understand how the application works.

“The biggest stumbling block is not everyone has an email or mobile phone,” Edwards said.

They discovered that people can list their landline number in the place that asks for a mobile phone number.

But people may experience other problems. “Even if you have a computer, you may not have a scanner,” Corrion said.

Blake Cass

Blake Cass

Blake Cass

Latest posts by Blake Cass (see all)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.