However, after a discussion on the issue, it was agreed that councillors and management would meet again later this month to see if something could be done.
Cllr Toireasa Ferris brought the motion to the meeting for the new times to be introduced for the first three months of this year to see what impact it would have.
She said the first three months are the quietest of the year for most town centre traders and it would have the least impact on loss of revenue for the council to try it out at this time.
Under the current Parking Bye-laws, pay parking operates for 10 hours daily, between 8.30am to 6.30pm.
The Council’s official reply stated that pay parking generates income to fund the cost of regulation and the provision of services by the Council, particularly the additional costs associated with the maintenance and improvement of the town, such as daily street cleaning, public lighting, upkeep of footpaths & town park etc.
A review of the parking bye-laws in Tralee is proposed for 2017 and any amendments to the bye-laws or changes in parking fees will be a matter for consideration by the members of the Municipal District.
However, any reduction in potential income as a consequence, would impact on the provision of services, unless an alternative income stream was identified and adopted by Council.
Cllr Jim Finucane was in favour of reviewing the pay-parking issue but thought Cllr Ferris’ proposal would not have an impact. He suggested something like free parking on a Thursday or Friday afternoon from 2pm to 6pm.
Cllr Sam Locke supported Cllr Ferris’ proposal, saying something had to be done to help businesses in the town centre.
Cllr Pat McCarthy said the proposal would be very welcome. Cllr Norma Foley said some mechanism with regards to pay-parking would be a gesture to the business community while work on the town centre is going on.
Mayor Terry O’Brien was unsure about whether this particular proposal would work and the implications on budgets, but said something should be introduced.
Director of Services at Kerry County Council, Michael Scannell said €1.3m a year is generated from parking charges and he estimated the new hours would result in a €300,000 loss to the Council.
He asked to postpone any proposals until March and in the meantime they would look at what could be done. He said everything has to come back to the budget which has been agreed upon.
He said any scheme introduced now would be premature and he was not prepared to accede to it on Monday.
It was agreed by councillors and management to reconvene on the issue on January 23 and Mr Scannell asked councillors to come up with costed proposals and what would have to be foregone in the budget, if any relief on pay parking charges was introduced.