NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — Coin parking meters will finally become a thing of the past.

“We’re so behind the times,” said Diana Alarcon. “You drive into a garage and you’re either using your phone to do your parking or it’s already done through your tag because you’ve already pre-registered.”

Tuesday evening, Metro Council finally approved a step into the future. Laz Parking will enter a contract with the city to operate and maintain new digital parking meters.

“I’m looking at the third-party vendor more as an extension of my staff to help me get our parking program modernized and into the 21st century,” said Alarcon.

Alarcon is the director of the Nashville Department of Transportation. She says this will be a five-year contract, with all the equipment and infrastructure owned by Metro.

This new system is expected to generate $2 million in income.

“Having someone like Laz who has that expertise in other areas throughout the United States who really also brings best practices to the table is going to be tremendous in helping us to get that done and move us forward to meet our community,” said Alarcon.

“I’m here for the modernization,” said Freddie O’Connell. “I just think we could have done it as a public function and should have done it as a public function.”

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O’Connell was one of four council members who voted against this contract.

“I was actually more surprised that given how controversial this was a couple of years ago that we didn’t see my skepticism,” he said.

O’Connell is all for going digital but doesn’t like the privatization aspect of this deal.

“What I’m less comfortable about is the idea of somebody in a private company vest walking around Nashville neighborhoods slapping tickets on windshields,” he said.

He is glad the contract is only five years, which leaves room for the city to replace Laz if things don’t pan out.

But Alarcon believes this is a good contract and is excited about how it could change parking for those here in the city.

Alarcon says they are hoping to have the new meters up and installed by the spring of 2023.

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She says residents and visitors will be able to start utilizing their app by the beginning of next year.