Councilmembers Say City Shouldn’t Charge More for ‘Smart Meter’ Parking

Parking prices may double in downtown pretty soon. But a couple city leaders insist there must be a better way to offset the cost of upgraded meters rather than passing the price-spike down to drivers.

A measure making its way to the City Council this week proposes switching out 1,200 9-volt-battery-powered, $1-an-hour parking meters in San Jose with “smart meters” that accept credit cards and coordinate with mobile apps to help drivers find available parking. The $1.3 million upgrade will come with a price increase to $2 an hour, but at least it cuts out the need to scrounge for change, the city points out. It also brings San Jose in line with the price of parking in other major cities including Los Angeles and San Francisco.

Councilmembers Kansen Chu and Ash Kalra ask the city to reconsider that plan.

“Before we seek to increase parking meter rates, let us consider other options with the understanding that our parking meter rates are not in contrast to San Francisco or Oakland parking rates,” they write in a memo, “but the smaller cities around us which, for the most park, still offer ample free parking to their daytime business customers.”

More from the San Jose City Council agenda for February 4, 2014:

Suspending the construction tax for anyone who installs solar panels and research and development facilities will cost the city up to $750,000 a year in lost revenue, but the hope is that it will create jobs and spur development.

Wild pigs continue to root up yards in Councilmember Johnny Khamis’ upscale Almaden district. He’s asking the city to extend an emergency ordinance that allows trappers to shoot these boars to death, after they’re trapped, of course. Khamis said last fall that he doesn’t want an all-out “pig genocide,” just a little pest control until the problem (literally) dies down.

Legal services related to the Mineta San Jose International Airport will cost up to $725,000, according to the latest agreement pending council approval.

Repairing municipal water valves will cost nearly $500,000.

The city will spend $1.8 million through June on electrical supplies for various departments.

Moving a sewer line to make way for light rail construction will cost the city $643,000.

Reports on the city’s annual retirement plans are due. They show that the total net position increased by 7.4 percent for the federated system and by 8.4 percent for the police and fire plans. The funded status for pensions dropped from 65 percent to 62 percent from 20120 to last year.

• Mayor Chuck Reed and council members Sam Liccardo and Rose Herrera are asking the city to build a softball complex at the Arcadia site, where developers will donate the land for the project paid for by a bond measure voters passed 13 years ago. The city was waiting for Santa Clara County to come up with an offer to build on the fairgrounds, but that would take longer and delay a project already put off for more than a decade, they said. It should be noted that Herrera received a few-grand in donations from the developer that owns the land.

WHAT: City Council meets
WHEN: 1:30pm Tuesday
WHERE: City Hall, 200 E. Santa Clara St., San Jose
INFO: City Clerk, 408.535.1260

Email tips to [email protected]. Follow her on Twitter at @jennwadsworth.

Jennifer Wadsworth is a staff writer for San Jose Inside and Metro Newspaper. Email tips to [email protected] or follow her on Twitter at @jennwadsworth.

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