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Bay Shore parking meter program takes in nearly $1M in two years

The Bay Shore Chamber of Commerce, at a meeting on Tuesday, Jan. 30, 2018, discussed newly released information showing Islip Town received nearly $1 million during two years from parking meters in the community's downtown area.  Credit: Newsday / Rachelle Blidner; Jessica Rotkiewicz

The Bay Shore parking meter program has generated nearly $1 million in revenue for Islip Town in two years, according to recently released documents.

The program took in more than $900,000 in 2016 and 2017, and the town spent about $440,000 in 2017, according to data released by officials.

Revenue grew to about $579,000 from January to Nov. 1, 2017, according to data. The program cost about $350,000 to operate in 2017, with $220,000 allotted for parking management employees, according to town data.

About $90,000 was allocated in 2017 for improvements and maintenance at the Bay Shore Long Island Rail Road station and the waterfront promenade.

Members of the Bay Shore Chamber of Commerce, who obtained the data through a Freedom of Information Law request, said Tuesday they were “stunned” at the high revenue. They had requested information because of concerns about what the parking funds are being used for.

“What we’d really like to see is that the money that goes into the meters stays in Bay Shore,” restaurant owner Mike McElwee said at a meeting at the Bay Shore-Brightwaters Public Library.

Members questioned how the rest of the revenue was spent and said they plan to file more information requests.

Islip Town spokeswoman Caroline Smith said the revenue goes into the town’s general fund and is used to “fund investments to the Bay Shore hamlet that otherwise may not have been possible,” including new paving, security cameras and sprinklers at the hamlet’s LIRR station. She noted that “town government is funded by all town taxpayers.”

The parking program has stirred debate in the only Islip hamlet with downtown parking meters. Town officials have said the program is needed to manage parking in the busy downtown. Business owners have criticized it for deterring customers.

The town board awarded a $750,000 contract to Cale America Inc. to buy meters in 2014. They were installed at the Maple Avenue dock in 2015; the LIRR station, Bay Shore marina and downtown streets in 2016; and the downtown back lots in May 2017.

Bay Shore parking meters took in more than $321,000 in 2016.

Parking meter violations netted more than $130,000 in fines between 2016 and November 2017, the data show.

About 60 percent of downtown parking is free, Smith said.

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