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Oyster Bay Town overhauls its commuter parking permit process

Oyster Bay is a hamlet on Long Island's

Oyster Bay is a hamlet on Long Island's North Shore. It was named for its abundance of shellfish and settled by the Dutch in 1615, according to the Historic Oyster Bay Chamber of Commerce website. This photo was taken Monday, March 26, 2012. Credit: Nicole Bartoline

The Town of Oyster Bay is overhauling how thousands of commuter parking permits for residents are processed.

The impetus for the change was the appointment in June 2013 of James Altadonna Jr. as town clerk to fill a vacancy. Altadonna had owned a printing and graphics company for two decades, so when he saw how the permits were being processed, he was appalled, he said.

"Looking at this for a little while, I said, 'This is insane. It's a waste of money, it's a waste of time. We can do this better,' " he said.

The process currently involves filling out three forms and a complicated sticker-production process. Under the overhaul, one of the forms will be eliminated, while the other two will be streamlined.

"The original process is that we would send a form out to our residents and they would fill it out and send it back to us with the money," Altadonna said. "Then we would take the form and create another form. That second one was used to apply information onto a blank permit sticker using non-indelible ink.

"Because it was non-indelible ink, "we had to protect it and so we had to hand-apply a mylar covering on every permit," he continued. "Then we insert it into an envelope and send it back to the residents. And we're talking 28,000 to 35,000 permits over the course of the year."

The new process researched by Deputy Town Clerk Ray Spagnuolo will eliminate the second form. A new initial form will go out to residents, and the information printed on the sticker and mailed back to residents.

Another benefit is "no mylar," Altadonna said. The process chosen uses an ultraviolet-resistant glossy coating for the sticker.

"The time savings will be phenomenal," Altadonna said, because copying the information twice and carefully placing the mylar on top of the sticker is very time-consuming. He said the process occupies his entire office staff for several weeks every other year when the two-year permits go out.

"We will save two-thirds of the time," he said.

He added that "cost will be reduced as well because there's no need to print the second form" and buy and apply mylar on the sticker.

Cindy Maloney, a clerk in the office, said when the permits are being issued, she spends all day on it for six weeks to two months. Each permit take several minutes to process.

"It's very tedious," she said. The modifications "will certainly make my life easier."

Altadonna said there was also a security issue with the current labels.

"Once you put it on a car, somebody could take it off and put it onto another car even though the plate numbers are on there," he said. "But they were so small that it would be very hard to pick up" for town security personnel.

The town is planning to use tamper-resistant labels that will shred if removed.

The new system will be fully in place for residents who already have permits by 2016 but within the next six months for new applicants, Altadonna said.

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