Sayre Parking Meters by Bob Baker
The following information is complied from articles in The Evening Times newspapers dated April 1943 and May 1946.
Most Sayre residents are familiar with the downtown parking meters, and many of us have raced to beat meter maid "Tillie" Searfoss, with coin in hand, before a parking ticket was written. Tillie was a common sight around Sayre for many years, riding her bike or walking in the search for expired meters. She was the first full time meter maid beginning in April 1964 until December 2001, when she took her well-deserved retirement, and was replaced by Holly Wilson. Prior to Tillie's appointment the Sayre Police were responsible for collecting the fees.
The ordinance to have parking meters in Sayre was passed on September 30, 1942 by the Sayre Borough Council. The meters were installed and finally went into service on Thursday, April 1, 1943. They were located throughout downtown Sayre. On Desmond Street they were installed from the post office to West Lockhart Street, on West Packer Avenue from the bridge to South Elmer Avenue, then South Elmer Avenue from West Packer to West Lockhart Street, and on North Lehigh Avenue from West Lockhart Street north to the alley.
In 1943 patrons had to deposit five cents for one hour or one cent for each twelve minutes. Loading and unloading within a reasonable time period was permitted without paying the payment of the installation of the meters. Over the first year's use, revenue of about $7300 was collected and fines totaled $321.50. In 1944 the income was $6782 and $315.50 was collected in fines. The average annual collection from each meter was $44.38. In twenty months the meters had paid for themselves and there was a balance of $1574.41 in the meter fund.
By June of 1945 the final payment had been made on the meters and they were now the property of Sayre Borough. There was a balance of $6200 in the meter fund. This extra income made it possible for the Sayre Borough Council to purchase a brand new dump truck and spreader in the spring of 1946. Since all other Sayre Borough Street Department equipment purchases had been second hand items, the council is very proud of their new equipment.
Currently downtown Sayre still has its parking meters. The prices have changed as have the violation fees. While it may vary a bit depending on the location and age of the meter, generally a quarter buys you two hours, a dime buys an hour and a nickel buys a half-hour of parking time. Parking fines are now $3.00. Although the prices have risen since 1943, they are still a good deal for residents parking in downtown Sayre.