IT’S unpopular but it looks like it’s here to stay.
Pay parking in Naas has been arousing the ire of retailers and and visitors alike but the money it produces helps to balance the books.
Some local councillors, under pressure from voters, have sought to have pay parking suspended for a period or even to have a study done to see how much this would cost.
There’s been firm resistance from the council, however – as well as most councillors.
Town Manager Eamonn O’Sullivan believes that parking charges – worth €800,000 a year – are necessary if there is not to be a hole in the council’s finances.
“I wouldn’t like to try to frame a budget (for Naas Town Council) in 2012 without pay parking,“ he said.
If this has to happen he predicts that rates for businesses will increase by 4%.
“Rates have not increased since 2009,” he said, predicting that the business lobby will campaign again for no increase to be considered in 2013.
He said there is “good budgetary control” within Naas Town Council but this could not be done without income from pay parking.
The council also contends that pay parking is not just about money but is there “to ensure that careless parking does not cause obstructions.”
Parking charges were introduced in an effort to free up more parking for local people and visitors and “came after extensive consultation with the local community.
It is clear that the majority of the councillors in Naas favour the retention of parking machines - except Cllr. Seamie Moore.
Town Clerk Ken Kavanagh told a town council meeting last month that if there were no charges there would be a reduced turnover of parking spaces and less availability of parking bays because spaces would be taken up for longer periods including longer parking.
One of the biggest ironies of this whole debate is that NTC is missing out on a huge source of rates income.
Because the Tesco centre in Monread is outside the NTC boundary area, all of the rates collected there go to Kildare County Council instead.
- Paul O’Meara