Roanoke, Va. -

The city of Roanoke is privatizing parking enforcement.

Beginning July 1st, employees of a parking management company will write tickets for violations downtown.

The city needed approval from the Virginia General Assembly to hand off parking enforcement to a private contractor. Other large Virginia cities already have that authority and lawmakers gave Roanoke the green light as well.

The city has already turned over its parking garages to a management company. Adding on-street parking will bring all of the downtown parking program under one roof.

City leaders say drivers should see little difference. The change will affect a handful of city employees who handle enforcement now. They have been offered positions with the parking company, or can apply for other positions in city government.

"We're not going to outsource the jail, the police, the fire, schools," said Roanoke Mayor David Bowers, but there are other services that I understand in this economy can be provided for in a more efficient and cost-saving way."

Bowers says he doesn't support the return of parking meters in the business district, but the city is contemplating a pilot project that could bring back meters to a small part of downtown. Stay tuned for more details on that later this summer.