AUBURN | The city of Auburn formally unveiled the Pango pay-by-phone parking system Friday, making it the first city in New York state to utilize the revolutionary setup.

Pango is a payment system that allows drivers to use an application on their mobile devices to pay for parking at any meter within city limits, rather than the traditional method of using coins. At Friday's ceremony to dedicate the event, the Rev. Ray Messenger dressed as his great-great-grandfather William Seward and used his mobile phone to become the first Auburn resident to use Pango to pay for parking.

Auburn Mayor Michael Quill spoke to a crowd of onlookers at the ceremony and said he thinks this new system will be great for the entire city because it will make it easier to park and pay at a meter in busy areas of the city.

"The downtown area is really growing and there are a lot of benefits to this for all of us" he said.

The Pango app can be downloaded to any smartphone and allows a customer to attach a credit card to their account, along with an unlimited number of license plates that can be paid for, depending on what car is being used to park at the time. The driver can check into a meter, which have all been numbered using Pango stickers, and check out when they leave, paying for the time they used once they are finished with the parking space.

There is also a phone number that can be dialed, so drivers who don't have smartphones can use any phone to pay a parking meter.

Paul Ringwood, president of the Downtown Auburn Business Improvement District, said that the new payment system will be beneficial to business owners and will help eliminate parking woes that people in downtown Auburn often experience. Pango also offers a business version of the app that will allow businesses to let their employees sign up and pay for monthly parking at their place of work.

He also stressed that although this new system is in place, the existing meters and kiosks will still be available for those drivers who choose to continue paying the traditional way.

"We want to make it fair and efficient for everyone," he said. "This will just be another option."

City manager Doug Selby, whom Quill credited as the driving force for the project, said that although some people may view the venture as a risky one, he believes that it's just another step in Auburn's quest to be a leader of cities nationwide.

"I encourage everyone to Pango in Auburn," he said.

Staff writer Kelsey Durham can be reached at 282-2237 or Follow her on Twitter at CitizenDurham.

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