An area employee who works in downtown Jim Thorpe is concerned about the parking fees set by Carbon County.
During the county commissioners' meeting on Thursday, the board welcomed Barb Timberz, a county resident, who asked if something could be done to help people who work in downtown Jim Thorpe when it comes to the county lot parking fees. The lot fees, set in January, are $5 Monday through Friday and $10 for Saturdays, Sundays and holidays.
Timberz said that the fee hurts the employees, especially restaurant servers, that need to use the lot when they are working at one of the many businesses in Jim Thorpe.
She noted that there is no parking available for these employees and no public transportation is available in the area to help alleviate the problem.
"It affects us and the businesses in town," she told the commissioners. "The businesses are struggling and realistically there is no parking for us.
"I think we take pride in small town charm, but I don't think we need to have our visitors, the tourists, have a bad taste in their mouths before they get out of their cars. We're not New York. We're not Philly. It's just Jim Thorpe. It's a quaint town and I think we need to be more welcoming to people who want to work here and visit here."
She also addressed an instance where the meters along Broadway were bagged off for area officials and state legislators for a meeting. This caused headaches to tourists and locals when trying to find a parking spot.
Commissioner Wayne Nothstein, chairman, said that Broadway meters, as well as the meters along Susquehanna Street and around Hazard Square are not the county's, but rather the Borough of Jim Thorpe's.
He did address Timberz concerns about the county lot fees and spaces for employees.
Nothstein noted that there is a reduced fee pass employees can purchase for $30 a month for a space.
Timberz said that she tried calling but was told there wasn't any spaces available.
She suggested that maybe employees could show proof of employment to get a reduced fee for parking.
Nothstein also said that the fees collected are used to cover a lot of items in the county, including renovating the train station restrooms, paying for heat and water in the train station; and maintenance of the county lot.
Another big expense that the county will incur in the next few years is repaving the lot. This will happen after the 903 bridge project is complete.
Commissioner Thomas J. Gerhard said that the board understands Timberz concern and will have some discussion to see if a solution could be found to help alleviate the problem.
In other matters, the board acted on the following items:
Ÿ Approve a request for an updated HAZMAT emergency response service agreement between the county and Environmental Products and Services of Vermont Inc., designating EPSVT as the primary emergency hazardous materials spill response contractor for the county, due to a request made by PEMA due to pending recertification.
Ÿ Approve the 2013 Emergency Management Performance Grant for funding to support salaries and benefits of the Emergency Management coordinator and administrative assistant. Estimated revenue is $61,696.
Ÿ Release hotel tax funds under the memorandum of understanding between Carbon County and the Pocono Mountain Visitors Bureau to Jim Thorpe Borough Council's police budget for 2013 tourist activities including providing police services during the annual St. Patrick's Day parade and the Fall Foliage Festival. The grant is for $5,000.
Ÿ Adopt a proclamation naming March as Irish Heritage Month in Carbon County.