Jim Thorpe Mayor Michael Sofranko reported to the borough council on his meeting with the Jim Thorpe Chamber of Commerce at their normal monthly meeting on Thursday evening. The major met with the chamber to discuss the parking meters in the borough. Earlier this year, the borough reprogrammed the meters, doubling the cost to park in town and making the minimum investment 50 cents to get 30 minutes of parking time. One hour costs a dollar and two hours costs two dollars, which is the maximum amount of time available on the meters.
"There were a lot of good ideas that we'll be presenting to our police committee later this month," Sofranko told the council. "I think the Chamber of Commerce was very pleased with the outcome of the meeting and pleased that we opened up some kind of dialog."
However, it was unclear whether the chamber left the meeting with the same positive feelings.
Michael Guy, owner of Rainbow's End in Jim Thorpe, attended the council meeting on behalf of the chamber with a written list of suggestions to follow up on the meeting with the mayor.
"In regard to our meeting with the mayor, the meeting was very fruitful but the conclusions that we came to are of great concern to everyone," Guy said. "As business is down at the present time, we need to do everything we can to encourage people to patronize us. With the meters the way they are now, it's thwarting business."
Local residents don't need an hour to run into and out of a store to pick up lunch, but they still have to pay 50 cents. The chamber would like to see the meters set back to 25 cents per half hour. The borough would still get its increase, but it would make it easier to get more traffic moving through town.
Chamber members also have a problem with the 15 minute meters, claiming that there isn't enough time to get into and out of a store. They would rather see 30 minutes meters.
Finally, the chamber said that the two hour limit on parking was intended to be the maximum amount of time a car could remain in a spot. Unfortunately, many local drivers are parking in the spots and then adding change every two hours.
"There are cars parked there from sunup to sunset," Guy said. "That's not good because it doesn't allow someone to drive down the street, see a spot and park so they can go into a store and do their business."
Chalking tires to allow meter maids to know when a car had been in a spot too long was not viewed as an effective method by the mayor, who pointed out that there is too much liability in touching people's cars. Meter maids do carry notebooks to record the position of cars.
Sofranko pointed out that the borough's ordinance is written to allow a one-hour minimum. "We're just enforcing the ordinance."
Guy said that the chamber would raise money to pay for these changes if the borough decided to grant their requests.