Westmeath County Council says it may look at the proposal to open the council staff car park at weekends but there is no “grace period” for drivers.
The council was making an initial response to concerns raised by frustrated traders at a meeting organised for all traders on Monday night.
“More than adequate parking exists in the town centre, however the need to open the staff car park at weekends could be examined at a future date,” the statement read.
However, they put paid to the notion that there is a 15 minute grace period before a parking fine is imposed.
“There is no ‘15 minute grace period’ but the traffic wardens use common sense judgement,” and there is an appeals procedure for grievances.
The council is welcoming public submissions as Mullingar Draft Parking ByLaws are currently being reviewed.
In answer to concerns about rates, the council reiterated that they have been frozen for the last three years “to help support local businesses”.
“Property valuations on which rates are levied are set independently by the Valuation Office,” they say.
The council pointed to a Customer Service charter which “clearly sets down response times for customer queries, written and verbal” and says these are published in the annual report.
The statement outlines how the council uses and monitors “a customer contact management system to ensure we provide a good customer service and all calls/contacts are responded to promptly in accordance with our Customer Service Action Plan which also provides for a customer complaints procedure”.
“We have provided a new County Buildings to house all our services on a single site with lunchtime opening and enhanced online planning services for our customers.”
In response to criticism that Athlone is favoured over Mullingar, the council pointed to an “indicative but not exhaustive list” of major infrastructural programmes over recent years “to improve and support Mullingar from both a commercial, residential, and tourism perspective”.
The council referred to the Joe Dolan Bridge, Robinstown Link Road, the C Link Road, an additional storage tank at Gaybrook Water Tower, and mains rehabilitation from Lynn Cross.
There is also tourism support for Belvedere House and Gardens and the Mullingar Regional Arts Centre and other initiatives.
These include a brown bin service in Mullingar, a Lakeside Amenity Improvement Programme, managing “the proliferation of hanging baskets in the town of Mullingar”, funding sports development officers, Destination Sport, and other events.