Bar Harbor Highway Division employee Benjamin Beal discusses the process of removing parking meters for the winter with a passerby Tuesday on Cottage Street. Each meter must be labeled, so it will go up in the same spot next spring. ISLANDER PHOTO BY BECKY PRITCHARD

Town took in $1.7 from parking program

BAR HARBOR — The town’s new paid and permit parking program earned a total of $1.7 million in gross revenue, according to an initial report released by Town Manager Cornell Knight to members of the Town Council and Parking Solutions Task Force Monday.

After credit card fees and other expenses, the net earnings are estimated to be almost $1.6 million.

“The net number is estimated,” Knight wrote in an email, “as receipts are still being posted from October sales.”

According to Finance Director Stan Harmon, the overall cost of running the parking program is $462,611 in fiscal year 2020. This, Harmon said, includes supplies, repairs, license fees, capital equipment, and time spent by staff to oversee the parking program.

Harmon had told town councilors in a September meeting that the revenue from paid parking had already far exceeded projections at that time.

Preliminary budget estimates were that the town might earn $510,750 from parking for the entire season.

Town officials are limited in what they can spend the money on. State law requires that revenue from parking meters must go toward purchasing, maintaining, and monitoring the meters, or constructing and maintaining public ways and public parking areas. This can include regular work that would otherwise come from the general fund, such as road striping.

Crews began disassembling parking meters on Monday. According to Patrick Kaemerer of the Highway Division, he and other crew members tagged each meter with its own unique number, so it would be put back in its original spot next spring.

This, Kaemerer explained, is because each meter is equipped with a sensor to detect motion. The sensors adapt to any obstructions in their surroundings, such as branches or streetlights.

Crews painstakingly tagged and took down each meter for winter storage, leaving only metal plates in the sidewalk where the meters stood.

Becky Pritchard
Former Islander reporter Becky Pritchard covered the town of Bar Harbor and was a park ranger in Acadia for six seasons.
Becky Pritchard

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