meter upgrades

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COLUMBIA - Parking meters in downtown Columbia may soon see an upgrade.

The Columbia City Council will discuss the appropriation of $158,000 to the Parking Division. These funds will go to three separate projects, including parking meter upgrades. Columbia City Hall said the majority of the city's meters are more than 15 years old, and that needs to change.

$100,000 of the $158,000 would go toward the upgrades. Approximately 1,750 meters need to be replaced in the city, according to Public Works.

The city said meters will be replaced over a three year stretch. The $100,000 would help replace 400-450 of those meters.

According to a memo sent by the city manager to the city council, "New parking meter equipment will allow staff to better track location occupancy rates in order to adjust for longer or shorter parking limits."

Downtown Columbia currently has a mix of old coin meters and new card-operated meters. The city wants to move toward having all card-operated meters, including some meters you can pay for using a phone app.

One Columbia resident said this move toward new meters is expected.

"It's not surprising, considering how many people probably keep spare change anymore," resident Steve Kroner said. "People are more interested in either smart phones, plastic, that sort of thing to pay."

The city council meeting starts at 7 p.m. Monday.