Thursday, December 30, 2010
So it comes as little surprise to me (see photo below) that our expensive town website--newly redesigned and indeed pretty spiffy--attracts a slew of visitors looking for information to pay their parking tickets. Because if you are one day over the 21 days allowed, the price more than doubles.
But from a public relations viewpoint I'm not so sure that is the kind of thing Amherst should advertise on the main page of the town website, which is quickly becoming the initial point of greeting with consumers, some of whom may be prospective residents.
Amherst has one of the highest property tax rates in the area; almost twice that of our next door neighbor Hadley--a farm community surprisingly welcoming of commercial business especially around Rt. 9, the main traffic corridor to the area's number one employer Umass.
Yet we enforce parking for profit the way a southern hicktown enforces speeding as a major contributor to municipal financing.
Sure, beleaguered small business owners in the downtown want efficiently controlled parking to allow for maximum turnover allowing more potential costumers threw the door, but it can also reach a point where folks will be turned off by the cold calculating overly efficient enforcement and take their business elsewhere, where the parking is free.
The Springfield Republican reports
Obviously an unhappy customer