Moccia, Wilmot reappointed to Parking Authority

Two Parking Authority members — Ancient Mariner owner Jessica Wilmot and former Norwalk Mayor Dick Moccia — were reappointed by the selectmen Feb. 8.

The Parking Authority hopes to begin making some progress on the recommendations of the retail and parking studies done by consultants SCRE Advisors from Saugatuck Commercial Real Estate in Westport, Moccia told the Board of Selectmen.

He also said the authority understands that the recommendations — which include adding more personnel and buying equipment to modernize parking enforcement — would require money that’s hard to come by in tight budget times.

“We’d love to have a full-time parking enforcement officer, because we play round robin” with a series of part-time employees, Moccia said.

A robot downtown?

There’d also been a recommendation to automate parking enforcement — with the use of license plate scanners such as the police have — but that has complications.

“You need to be certified to use them, because you’re getting information,” Wilmot said.

“Do you see a need for a full-time parking administrator?” First Selectman Rudy Marconi asked.

“I don’t know, given the financials,” said Moccia.

In view of tight budgets, Moccia thought the addition of a new, full-time staffer might do more good working for the Economic and Community Development Commission than the Parking Authority.

“A full-time parking administrator would not be the best use of the money,” he said.

Movable signs

Moccia and Wilmot said the authority had made some progress by purchasing movable signs that are put up to direct parkers to appropriate areas when there are special events.

Moccia said he was also looking into adopting a procedure by which “sponsors of events” might have to pay the town to have an officer on duty directing people where to park, so they don’t fill up all the spots near businesses that are open.

Selectman Steve Zemo suggested using a positive approach.

“It’s not ‘Don’t park here.’ It’s ‘Park here!’” he said.