Seeing the writing on the wall, New Paltz Village Mayor Tim Rogers wants to consider hiking some fees to offset budget problems in the future. He’s looking at increases for parking meters as well as water and sewer rates, but he wants to impact the fewest people possible.
Changing the mechanical parking meters to accept a different amount is a costly process, and Rogers has no interest in it. Instead, he’s proposing simply eliminating Sunday as a day of rest from the cost. Parking meters serve two functions that the mayor touched upon during different parts of the discussion last week: they generate revenue, but they also turn over spaces. Rogers noted that keeping people returning to their cars on Sundays could lead to more business locally.
Another parking change Rogers would like to see is an increase to the fine for overtime parking. Right now, that’s $10 if paid within five days; the mayor suggests doubling it which would result in a “significant amount of new revenue for our village;” he estimates it could be $70,000. Adding Sunday to the metered days would result in another $30,000, after the parking officer was paid.
More money in the general fund makes it easier to cover expenses like replacement trucks in the DPW garage; the sewer truck just obtained cost $240,000, for example.
Neither water nor sewer rates have had any increase since 2012, yet costs associated with those systems continue to rise. Water obtained from the New York City Department of Environmental Conservation — charged with managing the trillions of gallons of local rain water collected in city-controlled reservoirs throughout this and other watersheds — has risen 180% in the last ten years. Sewer equipment upgrades can easily run into millions of dollars.
That last round of increases established a tier system, under which higher-volume users pay much higher rates than most village residents. Rogers believes that increasing the rates of the two or three highest of the six tiers would relieve some of the financial pressure without impacting most voters, which is a very real issue: trustee Bill Murray noted that the cost of living in the village is a common topic of conversation when knocking on doors.