Parking meters highlight Calexico council meeting

May 08, 2002|By AARON CLAVERIE

Staff Writer

CALEXICO — The City Council here will look into replacing the mechanical parking meters downtown with electronic meters.

Councilman David Ouzan, a downtown business owner, said Tuesday a big portion of the city's 515 or so meters don't work well.

He said, "25 percent don't function. You can't even put quarters in or when you do you get less than two hours."

Ouzan said he was ticketed recently because a meter didn't give him the full two hours.

He said the state of the meters is not fair to Calexico's motorists, including himself, and visitors. He said the new meters would pay for themselves.


Councilman Alex Perrone said, "I agree we need to replace them."

He introduced Police Chief Mario Sanchez, who gave the council a presentation on the meters.

Sanchez said the city could replace the internal workings of the meters with liquid crystal display, "LCD-type," meters for around $75,000. He said it might be a good time to do so because the company that makes the classic mechanical meters won't be making new parts for repairs next year.

Mayor John Renison said the new meters issue was an item that could be discussed in upcoming budget sessions.

Councilman Victor Carrillo asked how much money is taken in by the meters and whether there are funds set aside to replace old meters.

City Manager Richard Inman said all money from the meters goes into the city's general fund. He said there is no specific fund to replace old meters.

Sanchez said the city took in more than $450,000 from a combination of the city's meters and fines and tickets associated with the meters.

While all involved seemed to agree replacing the meters was a good idea, no vote was taken.

In other business, Renison wanted to know if the city could do something about Calexico motorists playing their music too loudly as they drive around residential areas. Renison had said he read letters in this newspaper from Calexicans concerned about the rolling noise pollution.

City Planning Director Ricardo Hinojosa said the city has usually dealt with such issues on a complaint basis — someone calls in and the vehicle is reported to the Police Department.

He said the city could look into setting up a system that would allow police to travel around with decibel meters and cite people whose car or home stereos exceed a set limit.

Renison said, "Let's move on that."

When it came time to bring up future agenda items, Ouzan said he'd like the council to consider approving a $1,000 fine for tire littering.

"I drove around Cole Road and Highway 98 and there are tires laying on the side of the road. There needs to be signs there and a fine," he said.

He said a big fine might prevent "some of this littering" and make the entrances to Calexico look more attractive.

Ouzan then brought up construction work downtown. He asked if the city is going to fix an alley downtown after it finishes replacing a water main.

Nick Fenley, assistant to the city manager, said he has asked Ouzan and other downtown business owners to "please be patient" as the city replaces the pipe and then lays new asphalt in the alley. Fenley said the wait would be well worth it once the project is finished.

Later during Tuesday's meeting, Carrillo addressed Ouzan's comments.

Regarding the construction work, Carrillo said, "There is a timeline that needs to be followed and respected. You'll learn it is not as simple as fixing a broken window at your store or your home."

As for the tires, Carrillo said, "Those tires are on county roads. That's something our supervisor has to address and if it's not addressed by January it will be addressed shortly thereafter."

Inman said the county recently received a grant for tire removal but it will a one-time event. He said there might be needs for further enforcement.

On the consent agenda, the council rejected two claims against the city and approved plans to map out a city-wide bike plan, among other actions.

>> Staff Writer Aaron Claverie can be reached at 337-3419 or

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