Arthur Cusano | Dec 01, 2015 |
Metered parking rates will increase in Pleasantville starting in January following the adoption of new rates by village trustees last week.
On-street meters will cost 25 cents per 20 minutes, up from 25 cents for 30 minutes, while off-street meters will cost 25 cents for a half-hour, an increase from 25 cents an hour. Short-term meters will be 25 cents, which will all be less than 30 minutes.
Daily parking permits at train station lots for residents will cost $10 per day, up from the current $5. Those will cost nonresidents $15 a day, an increase from the current $10. Annual parking rates will remain at $600.
Trustee Mindy Berard was among four of the five village board members to vote in favor of the increases. She said plans to install new electronic meters had to be funded and the village hasn’t raised rates in years.
“I don’t think it makes that much of an impact to shoppers,” she said.
The higher prices would also help increase parking turnover on the street, she added.
“It coincides with the thinking that we need to raise your prices for the off-street and have the on-street more expensive, so if they’re going to shop and eat they’ll park in a lot versus on the street,” Berard said.
The dissenting vote was cast by Trustee Joseph Stargiotti, who said the hikes might discourage shoppers.
“To me, parking rates and what you charge should cover the cost of the enforcement and collection, and maybe a little more to help with maintenance and parking areas and things like that,” he said.
Stargiotti cited figures listing the 2014 meter and permit revenue at $442,000 and another $279,000 generated from fines. For this year, the village has had meter and permit revenue of $458,800 and revenue from fines of close to $300,000. Parking enforcement and court fees have cost the town $287,000 in 2015, he added.
Stargiotti said two new electronic parking meters purchased by the village that will be installed in municipal lots are projected to cost about $25,000, which he said Pleasantville could afford. Plans by the village to purchase property to add more parking in the business district had not yet come to fruition, he added.
“Without having some specific use associated with parking, what we’re really doing is generating revenue, and that may not be a bad thing, but I think that’s a budget discussion,” he said. “If we need to raise rates to pad the budget or raise more income, it’s a discussion to have but I don’t like the idea of doing it now.”
Berard countered that officials had discussed rate hikes during its last budget discussions before Stargiotti was seated on the board as a way to pay for necessary meter improvements.
Mayor Peter Scherer said the rate hikes were needed to pay for parking improvements and additional parking, which he said could never be paid for by parking meter revenue. The state property tax cap, and the efforts to stay below it, made it difficult to fund capital projects such as parking improvements, he said.
“The reality is that parking meters are a form of user fee,” Scherer said. “It is the one mechanism we have to get a contribution to the cost of the parking and our future goal to enhance parking, both the supply and ease of using it through new technology. We can charge residents extra money in their tax bill, but the reality is that we’re trying to capture dollars from the users parking so heavy users in the downtown will pay more and residents who hardly ever park downtown will pay nothing.”
Filed Under: The Examiner