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COLUMBIA - Monday night, the Columbia City Council will discuss appropriating $886,193 from the Parking Utility retained earnings account in order to install a gate arm system for all six city-owned parking facilities.

The Columbia Public Works staff is also requesting to appropriate $177,000 from the Parking Utility retained earnings account to reimburse its operating account for the recent upgrade of all city parking meters.

A gate arm system means that drivers would have to pay to park before they enter the parking garage. 

The gate arm system would have many benefits according to the city council agenda, such as increased security, more efficient enforcement and detailed occupancy reports for all garages. 

The agenda also notes an anticipated 10 percent rise in revenue. This is because drivers having to pay before they enter would cut down on the number of people who park without paying.

Mike Misslin parks downtown frequently. Misslin said he thinks the gate arm sounds like a good idea.

"Yeah, I would think it would definitely help them from losing revenue," Misslin said. "And it would help with the security." 

University of Missouri student Matt Wooley said he does not think the idea would be fair for people who have to drive downtown for their jobs. 

"As a delivery driver for Order Up, I don't like it because it will slow me down and cost me money," Wooley said. 

The Purchasing Division bid the gate arm system project and a vendor was selected; however, the contract with the vendor cannot be finalized until an appropriation is authorized by the council. 

Public Works staff estimates the project will be completed by September or October of this year. 

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