Once again, a proposal has been floated in Hudson to put parking meters on the lower blocks of Warren Street, i.e. below 3rd. According to a Register-Star’s account today, this would rake in between $25K and $27K in revenue annually.
Let's be generous, and round that revenue up to $30,000. To put that (piddly) amount in perspective in relation of the City’s (giant) 2012 budget:
- That’s just 3/5th of 1% (.006) if computed as a percentage of Hudson's $4,687,618 tax levy;
- That’s just 3/10ths of 1% (.003) if computed as a percentage of Hudson's $9,651,173 in general fund appropriations.
- And that's just 1/4 of 1% (.0025) if computed as a percentage of Hudson's $12,122,801 in total expenses.
Any way you slice it, the savings would be invisible (a lot less than 1%) to pretty much every taxpayer.
And even in a highly-unlikely best-case scenario, in which the entire $30,000 gets applied directly to reduce peoples' tax burden, an average person paying $2,500 in property taxes would save a grand total of $15 a year. If instead, the amount were subsumed into the entire appropriations or expenditures, the personal savings might be more in the $4-$8 range. With that kind of cash, one maybe could afford lunch once a year at Applebee's in Greenport, where parking is free.
Unfortunately, even after paying off the installation costs within 6-12 months, the external costs of metering would likely erase any such savings by causing some area residents to shop less in town, and causing more casual visitors to vow not to come back to Hudson again because they got a ticket.
Meter advocates tend to argue (often without any supporting data) that metering results in more turnover of parking spaces, deterring people from parking in the same spot all day. But at 25 cents per hour, many can easily afford to stay in the same spot all day anyway, or just pay the ticket: the marginal difference between 8 hours at 25 cents and a $6 ticket is all of $4. Unless Hudson begins chalking tires to prevent people buying more than 2 hours at a time, ticketing only really affects those least able to afford parking, and those easily ticked off by tickets.
Meanwhile, as has been pointed out here before, many thriving area towns such Millerton, Rhinebeck and Great Barrington have no parking meters on their main streets. So how is it that these meterless towns are doing as well as their metered neighbors?