CONWAY — While the town's new paid parking program experiment appears to have lost money this summer, the town manager is hopeful the fees will generate revenue next year.
Paid parking was in effect from Memorial Day weekend to Labor Day at several canoe put-in spots in town, including First Bridge in North Conway, Davis Park in Conway and the Smith-Eastman Landing on Meeting House Road behind the Conway Police Station.
Smith-Eastman Landing had a kiosk and attendants for a time, while the other rec sites were manned only by attendants.
Residents of Conway and Albany and second homeowners of those towns can park for free with a sticker, but all others have to pay $20 per day, though late in the summer an option for of $3 per hour at Smith-Eastman was put in effect. The town learned that many people who wanted to use the trail at Smith-Eastman didn't want to spend $20 to take a walk.
Town Manager Tom Holmes gave selectmen a briefing about the results of the parking program at their meeting Tuesday.
Holmes said that while the town took in about $52,300, the expenses to set up the program were nearly $21,800 and payroll was about $32,600, for a total outlay of $54,400, leaving a negative balance of $2,100.
Holmes said he's still adjudicating tickets, so the revenue might rise "a bit." Tickets for infractions were $100.
"I think that's pretty good," said Holmes of the numbers.
Holmes told selectmen staff will present them with ideas of how to make the parking program better.
He added there were a number of expenses the town won't have to see next year, such as buying a $8,000 kiosk, stickers, six cellphones, card readers for the cellphones, vests, cones and "lots of signs."
Holmes added that summer 2021 was challenging in terms of weather.
"If Memorial Day wasn't freezing, if we didn't have a drought in June, and July wasn't the rainiest in history, we would have made money our first year," said Holmes.
Holmes said staff kept a running list of issues and complaints that the program generated.
"I'm working on consolidating all the issues that arose and the categories, which I almost completed doing but is still a little confusing, and present everything to the board," said Holmes.
He added that one of the problems was determining whether to give out stickers to residents of homes owned by trusts and LLCs.
"We're going to have a good discussion on things like trusts and LLCs and whether we're going to offer something (like a discount) to nearby towns and how we're going to issue the stickers next year to make it easier and where to put them because tinted windows really messed us up this year," Holmes said.
"It's going to be a lengthy discussion."