Village Adopts New Overnight Parking Arrangement

By Michael Romain 

Thursday, MAYWOOD — At a December 11, 2013, LLOC meeting, Trustee Antonette Dorris requested the opportunity to revisit a proposal for the purchase of new overnight parking technology that was originally presented by representatives from Accutron Systems at an August 14, 2013, LLOC meeting. Until Trustee Dorris reintroduced the measure, the proposal had been tabled due to insufficient funds.

At the time, the representatives reported that the Village had only two employees dedicated to answering calls from 9pm to 1:30am, the interval during which people may call in to notify the Village of their intent to park on the streets overnight–which is currently prohibited by Village ordinance.

“The [employees] get about 50 calls a night, about 1800 calls a month,” one of the representatives said.

The proposal stipulated for Accutron to transition from an in-house system to a cloud-based system (with data to be stored on a Microsoft server).

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“This expands the options that citizens have,” the representative said. “In addition to calling in, citizens can go to the internet [via] their computers and smart phones and obtain references for overnight parking, enabling them to call 24 hours a day (really 23 hours and 50 minutes to account for the daily lag).”

The updated service would also make it easier for police, because they’d be able to access information about cars parked on the streets overnight by simply referring to their computers. According to the representatives, the Village’s adoption of the updated service would have cut the number of calls in half, eliminate unprofessional service, create a log of officer activities, decrease the amount of complaints and possibly cut down on the amount of time and energy required to monitor the overnight parking system by the Village’s personnel. At the time, the total cost of the software was estimated to be about $12,700, with $3,800 required for annual license fees. At the January 21, 2014, Board meeting, where the proposal was approved, the cost of the new software was said to be $12,000.

With the new system in place, citizens who want to park on the streets overnight will be able to go to the Village website, register for online parking one time, fill in vehicle and personal information and they’ll be provided with log-in information that they’ll need to subsequently access the system. Each vehicle would automatically be given five call-ins per month. As long as vehicles are under that limit, they can request a reference. If they aren’t, the system won’t allow them to request. To eliminate abuse by vehicle owners, the system tracks license plates and not addresses.

The only dissenting vote on the proposal was provided by Trustee Cheryl Ealey-Cross, who wasn’t on the Board in August, when the original proposal was presented.

“I have a problem with this proposal given that I don’t think there was adequate information provided to make a decision to spend these funds. I’ve used the call-in and have never had a problem,” she said, before also stating that a sufficient needs assessment and adequate background research of the proposal was not done before the Board took it to a vote. She also suggested that the Village deal with the underlying reason for why the Accutron measure was put in place, which is an ordinance that she believes to be unnecessary.

“Since we don’t clean the streets during the nigiht, why do we have an ordinance like this that exists on the books? It’s not being utilized.”

Police Chief Talley, however, who conducted his own departmental assessment of the program, said that he thought the new technology would be useful in the interim and “has long-term applications and growth.”

Citizens who experience any issues with the new system should contact Sgt. Fairley at (708) 450-4452. VFP

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