In a four to one vote at its May 6th meeting, the Mamaroneck Town Council approved a fee schedule and related parking arrangements for the new two-story, 118 space, parking deck on Myrtle Avenue. Unlike the first iteration, there are discounts for seniors, additional accommodation for those with handicaps and a system that distributes permits separately for the top and lower deck.
The council also approved a large settlement for a local auto dealership and increased salaries for some positions.
Parking Deck Rules and Fees Approved
The vociferous crowd of residents who filled Town Hall at the two previous meetings was absent this time. Residents mostly remained home and council members mostly agreed on the rules that will apply once the deck opens by July. (See: TOM Parking Plan Evolves; Still Controversial.)
The holdout on the council, David Fishman, had a number of reservations. Primarily, he thought the rates were somewhat too low and that more parking spaces were needed for local businesses.
Mr. Fishman said the going rate for parking at the adjoining apartment buildings was in the range of $600-$700 per year, generally higher than the rates set for the new deck. He feared that many of the “apartment residents may be drawn to the new deck,” undercutting the goal of opening new spaces. Also, he said that in fairness to taxpayers from other areas, the council had an obligation to maximize the income potential of all assets, including the deck, to level out everyone’s tax burden.
The Details: Town Administrator Steve Altieri said applications for prospective permit holders will go out this week. The new fee schedule and arrangements approved were:
- The regular fee for 24-hour parking will be $600. The senior citizen rate for a 24-hour permit will be $350.
- Separate permits will be issued for the top and bottom floors of the deck for both 24-hour and area business parkers. Handicapped spaces in the deck will be apportioned on both floors as well.
- Existing 24-hour permit holders will be given a choice of whether they would prefer the top or bottom floor. New permit holders will be assigned upper- or lower-level space by alternating the applications.
- Area business spaces also will be distributed alternately to each floor. A total of 15 permits for businesses will be issued for the deck at this time. There will be 17 additional business permits issued for parking elsewhere in the Washington Square area. The Town will determine whether more or fewer business spaces should be sold, based on future experience.
- In addition to handicapped spaces in the deck, six additional handicapped spaces will be installed on the top end of Vine Street. Only those holding 24-hour permits for the new deck may use these spaces.
Adjustments Can Be Made: Councilmembers Nancy Seligson and Phyllis Wittner said they found merit in Mr. Fishman’s views that permit rates may be too low. However, they said, given the long and detailed scrutiny given to the area’s parking situation, it was now time to act and make whatever adjustments are needed later.
Supervisor Valerie O’Keeffe emphasized throughout the deliberations that the current plan was conservative and would be watched carefully with an eye to making changes as needed.
The handful of residents at the meeting generally applauded the care given the issue by the council. Their questions mostly related to procedures once the deck is operating by July.
The discussion and vote on the parking matter was preceded by a presentation by Frank Fish, a principal of the firm Buckhurst Fish & Jacquemart, Inc., transportation consultants. His firm had completed a study of Washington Square parking in 2000, updated it in 2007 and has been otherwise involved in local parking analysis. Mr. Fish’s primary recommendations were to enforce regulations gently but firmly and be prepared to make pragmatic adjustments.
Auto Dealer Gets Large Tax Rebate
In another development, Town Attorney William Maker, Jr. announced that Boston Post auto dealer Ray Catena prevailed in a legal action in which he claimed his Town tax was unfairly high.
Mr. Maker said that during the period from 2002 – 2008, Mr. Catena’s property was valued by the Town at approximately $6.5 million. In his legal action, Mr. Catena contended the property should be valued at approximately $3 million.
Both parties agreed on a settlement with a value between $4.8 -$5.7 million.
The result is the Town will refund $44,000 to Mr. Catena and the Mamaroneck School District will refund $110,000.
Some Salaries and Fees to Increase
The Town Council approved the following matters unanimously:
- Payment of Town Fire Department expenses of $3,421.52.
- Increased lease rate for the Town Center’s 3rd floor space used by public agency Southeast Consortium from $15, 388 per year to $16,000 for the coming year, with various increases leading up to $17,300 per year five years hence.
- Salary increase for Director of Senior Services Maria Gallagher from the present $65,160 to $75,160 this year and to $81,750 in 2010. Mr. Altieri said her job had expanded tremendously with the Town officially assuming responsibility for operating a single senior center for the three local municipalities at the Boston Post Road Veterans of Foreign Wars building.
- Salary increase to $67,555 for Mike Pinto, who has been promoted to garage foreman/ fleet manager. His job has increased as the Town now does the bulk of its own repairs on fire, police and other Town vehicles and is pioneering in applying new, environmentally advanced technology to its fleet.
- Increased Ambulance District fees in step with Medicare’s increased allowances.
- Salary increases for the Ambulance District’s 25 paramedics of $1.00 to $27.50 per hour.
- Purchased the use of NYGIS digital software, funded by a grant from the New York Department of State. Among other benefits, the software consolidates visual data on land parcels, infrastructures and natural features of the town. This is of great help in assisting the Town, individuals, contractors and developers evaluate and file accurate building applications.
- Provide payment ranging from $10.50 per hour to $12.50 per hour to four individual Memorial Park Tennis Court attendants.
Former Fire Chief Anthony Mirande Honored
Ms. O’Keeffe and members of the council paid tribute and told anecdotes honoring the Town’s late fire Chief Anthony Mirande. He was chief in 1953 and was the longest serving member of the department, 69 years.
“He was a gentle, dedicated man, who set a good example for all members of the department,” Ms. O’Keeffe said.