Wilmington installs “smart meters”

 Mayor Dennis Williams and Councilwoman Hanifa Shabazz (Lisa Marie McDonald/for NewsWorks)

Mayor Dennis Williams and Councilwoman Hanifa Shabazz (Lisa Marie McDonald/for NewsWorks)

No quarters? No problem.

In an effort to make the city more “visitor friendly” Wilmington officials announced that 200 “smart meters” will be installed in downtown Wilmington.

The smart meters will give motorists the option of paying with change, credit card or smart card. Customers will also have the option of being alerted when the meter is close to expiring and can add more time to the meter via a smartphone.

“Everything is smartphones and credit cards. This is the best way for Wilmington to move forward, change. No one is using cash dollars anymore in any type of transaction,” said City Councilwoman Hanifa Shabazz.

Shabazz along with Mayor Dennis Williams have heard numerous parking complains from Wilmingtonians at various city events and public forums.

“During the course of campaigning, that’s all we heard about,” said Williams. “It’s one of the number one problems, people were talking about coming to downtown and getting tickets.”

Williams said he doesn’t want visitors to deter from the city because of parking ticket fears.

“Let’s say I come downtown to buy a card or something, I can’t find change, I run into the store and I get a $40 ticket. It frustrated people,” he said.

More convenient parking will likely mean less parking tickets and Mayor Williams said he doesn’t think that should have an affect on the city’s budget.

“Writing parking tickets is not a revenue enhancer, that’s not what the general assembly gave the city of Wilmington authority to write tickets for,” he said. “It was to keep traffic flowing and to keep parking spaces available so people could park and traffic could keep moving but somewhere along the lines, somebody decided to use it as a revenue enhancer to balance budgets and I’m still saying it’s the wrong thing to do.”

Mayor Williams ceremoniously installed the first meter on Market Street. The other meters will be installed in downtown Wilmington and along the Wilmington Riverfront.

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