PARK­ING PROB­LEM

Coun­cil falls one vote short of ap­prov­ing $125K bond­ing for pay­ment kiosks in lots

Daily Freeman (Kingston, NY) - - FRONT PAGE - By Wil­liam J. Kem­ble news@free­manon­line.com

The Com­mon Coun­cil this week came up one vote short of the su­per­ma­jor­ity needed to au­tho­rize $125,000 in bond­ing for the pur­chase of pay­ment kiosks to be used in the city’s mu­nic­i­pal park­ing lots.

The coun­cil voted 5- 3 on Tues­day in fa­vor of the bond­ing, but six “yes” votes from among the coun­cil’s nine mem­bers are needed for bonds to be ap­proved.

The votes in fa­vor of bond­ing were cast by Lynn Eck­ert, D-Ward 1, Reynolds Scott-Chil­dress, D-Ward 3, Ma­jor­ity Leader Wil­liam Carey, D-Ward 5, Tony Davis, D-Ward 6, and Steven Sch­abot, D-Ward 8.

Some sup­port­ers of the bond­ing noted it also would have pro­vided money to re­place on-street park­ing me­ters.

Vot­ing against the bond­ing were Nina Daw­son, D-Ward 4, Maryann Mills, D-Ward 7, and Mi­nor­ity Leader Deb­o­rah Brown, R-Ward 9.

Douglas Koop, D-Ward 2 was ab­sent.

The kiosks were to in­stalled to ac­cept pay­ments for park­ing in the city’s mu­nic­i­pal lots, which cur­rently can be used for free. Carey said the pay­ment plan, pro­posed by Mayor Steve No­ble, was de­signed, in part, to ease the fi­nan­cial bur­den placed on city res­i­dents.

“Vot­ing ‘no’ on this and putting the en­tire bur­den of our ... park­ing lots on all city res­i­dents is short­sighted,” he said. “We

have thou­sands of peo­ple who come to this city [who] think noth­ing of pay­ing for mu­nic­i­pal park­ing. Why would we not want to off­set our ex­penses by bring­ing in rev­enue from peo­ple out­side city lines?”

No­ble es­ti­mated in his ini­tial pro­posal that be­tween 12 and 15 kiosks would be needed at a cost of $7,000 to $9,000 apiece. The kiosks were to be in­stalled in nine lots by April 1, and the park­ing fee was to be 75 cents per hour.

On Mon­day, though, No­ble bowed to pub­lic pres­sure and amended his plan to in­clude a deep dis­count — $10 for an an­nual per­mit — for fre­quent users of the lots, many of whom are city res­i­dents and em­ploy-

ees of lo­cal busi­nesses.

Me­gan Weiss- Rowe, Kingston’s di­rec­tor of com­mu­ni­ca­tions and com­mu­nity en­gage­ment, said Fri­day that No­ble will ask the coun­cil to vote again next month on the bond­ing for the kiosks.

“This is crit­i­cal be­cause, as of right now, the coun­cil has au­tho­rized and voted to amend the fee struc­ture for the city to charge 75 cents per hour in the lots and to sell $10 for an­nual passes for fre­quent users, but has not au­tho­rized the bond nec­es­sary to pur­chase the kiosks to col­lect said fees from in­fre­quent users,” Weiss-Rowe said in an emailed state­ment. “... The mayor will con­tinue to pur­sue the bond­ing au­tho­riza­tion nec­es­sary to pur­chase the kiosks while con­tin­u­ing this ro­bust com­mu­nity di­a­logue on long-term park­ing in­fra­struc­ture and man­age­ment plans.

Brown said ap­prov­ing the bonds would have pro­vided too much author­ity to in­stall the kiosks without the coun­cil’s con­sent.

“This gives free range to do any­thing you want at this point,” she said. “I had sug­gested that we start with new me­ters on the street first and see how it goes in a con­trolled sit­u­a­tion.”

Carey noted that ap­prov­ing the bonds “gives us the abil­ity to do kiosks but does not in­hibit us from look­ing into other al­ter­na­tives.”

Mills said ob­jec­tions from city busi­ness own­ers should be taken into con­sid­er­a­tion be­fore any de­ci­sions are made about chang­ing the city’s park­ing poli­cies.

“I think we need to lis­ten to the pub­lic,” she said. “We need to take up their ideas and have a dis­cus­sion about them.”

TA­NIA BARRICKLO — DAILY FREE­MAN FILE

A car en­ters one of the two mu­nic­i­pal park­ing lots on North Front Street in Up­town Kingston.

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