Westbury leaders have passed a law that gives them the power to attach unpaid parking fees to the tax bills of delinquent commercial landlords.
Westbury's mayor Peter Cavallaro said officials altered the village code on Thursday because a growing number of business owners have either failed to pay or have been late in paying a fee required in lieu of providing parking spots in the village's business district.
"If you're doing some redevelopment in the commercial district, and you're asking for less parking than you would normally have to provide, and that relief is granted, you have to pay a fee to the village for every space that's been reduced from your requirement," Cavallaro told residents at Thursday's public hearing.
"It's basically a use fee; people who are causing the parking lots and the streets to be more crowded than they should be are paying into this fund."
The new law allows the village to apply liens against any property owner who has not paid the fee or annual ones that follow.
Property owners must pay $125 for each space granted under the variance, for the first 25 spaces; $200 for each of the next 25 spaces; $275 for each of the next 50; and $350 for each space when more than 100 spaces are subject to the variance, according to village code. After the initial payment, which is due within the first 10 days of the variance being granted, the property owner must pay $50 for each space annually. Annual payments are due January of each year.
The village would also be able to put a lien on the property owner's deed so the village can collect unpaid fees on the sale of the property, Cavallaro said.
"In order to allow us to more easily collect these fees, we're enacting a provision to essentially make it equivalent to a failure to pay taxes," said Cavallaro.
The 2005 public benefit fee law has allowed the village to collect several hundred thousand dollars from property owners in the village's commercial district, largely situated on Post Avenue.
The village has used the funds for improvements to various village parking lots. "We don't have to make taxpayers pay through the tax levy," Cavallaro said.