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Oyster Bay Town Board approves 400% commuter parking fee hike

The Town of Oyster Bay commuter lots, such

The Town of Oyster Bay commuter lots, such as the one in Massapequa, above, on Jan. 16, 2018, require parking permits. Credit: Jessica Rotkiewicz

The Oyster Bay Town Board approved a 400 percent increase on commuter lot parking permit prices Tuesday night.

The fee will increase this year to $100 from $20 for a two-year permit for residents in unincorporated areas of the town, and to $120 from $80 per year for residents of incorporated villages. Senior residents in non-village areas will still pay $20.

The town issues about 41,000 permits for 6,891 spots that require permits, according to numbers provided by the town clerk’s office, which issues the permits.

Town Supervisor Joseph Saladino said at Tuesday night’s meeting that the fee hikes would allow the town to address the shortage of parking spaces.

“It’s important to generate the revenue that will lead us toward creating more spots, and the earlier we get moving on this process, the quicker we can provide more spots,” Saladino said, according to a videotape of the meeting.

A Jan. 5 memo from deputy highway commissioner John Bishop calling for the fee increase said the hikes were needed “due to the increased cost of maintaining and improving our parking facilities.” At a Jan. 23 meeting Bishop told the board his original recommendation of a $100 annual fee for parking permits for non-village residents was based on a comparison of what other municipalities were charging.

“Considering what other townships are charging, it just seems feasible,” Bishop said at that meeting.

The majority of the town’s $8.2 million parking budget comes from property taxes. Saladino said at the Feb. 9 meeting that the fee increase would shift costs away from property taxes and on to users of the lots.

Town finance director Robert Darienzo said at the Feb. 9 meeting the increase would allow for a property tax cut because it would create a surplus in the town’s parking fund in 2018 and “then moving forward in 2019, we will know about how much money we should receive on a year-to-year basis and we’ll be able to correspondingly lower taxes in this district for all taxpayers.”

Darienzo said at that meeting that the town would borrow money to add and improve parking spaces.

The parking budget includes maintenance of the Hicksville parking garage, which is scheduled to be closed for repairs for three months over the summer.

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