Mount Vernon OKs parking fee increases

City of Mount Vernon Mayor Ernie Davis replies City of Mount Vernon Mayor Ernie Davis replies to comments as residents speak out against a proposed budget which calls for considerable tax increases during an open meeting at City Hall. (Dec. 6, 2012) Photo Credit: Xavier Mascarenas

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Mount Vernon City Council members agreed to bump up the cost of parking Thursday night -- a move that came without protest from city residents as no notice was given on the proposed fee increase.

The move came as city officials approved a proposal to buy 1,200 new single-space parking meters, at an estimated cost of $177,600. The parking fee increases, which bump the cost of meters to 75 cents and $1 an hour from the current 25-50 cents currently charged, will defray the cost of the new meters.

Normally, City Council agendas are posted on the city's website several hours before council meetings; on Wednesday, no agenda was posted.

Council member Deborah Reynolds voted against the purchase of the new meters and all of the fee increases, except for the increase on the meter bags charged for special events, which will be going up from $8 to $20 per bag.

"We need to find other ways to increase our revenue besides taking it out of the backs of our residents," she said.

Other Westchester County cities such as White Plains, New Rochelle and Yonkers charge 75 cents to a dollar an hour at most on-street parking meters.

Mount Vernon officials expect to generate an estimated $1.7 million a year from the new meters once they are installed sometime in 2013.

The meter purchases and increases will be submitted to Mayor Ernie Davis for consideration, but it wasn't clear Wednesday night whether if he supports the move.

Mount Vernon faces major revenue shortfalls in the 2012 budget, which has forced the City Council to consider a nearly 10 percent property tax increase and deep cuts in spending for 2013.

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