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Catskill parking rates to increase, but how much is to be decided

Catskill Village Vice President Pete Grasse shows off a refurbished meter to Village President Vincent Seeley (right) and Trustee Stanley Dushane (left).
June 7, 2018 11:32 pm

CATSKILL — The village of Catskill is set to receive new parking meters along Main Street with a higher price tag to go with them.

The current rate to park in the village is 25 cents per half hour and 50 cents an hour, with a two-hour maximum parking time, Village Vice President Pete Grasse said Thursday.

The rate will go up, but trustees Thursday had not decided how much the increase will be, Village President Vincent Seeley said, adding a public hearing will be held on the proposal.

“I don’t want it to quadruple, but I do think it’s fair for it to go up,” Seeley said.

The meters in use took in more than $36,000 in deposits last year. The deposits are revenue that goes into the village’s general fund.

“We can change it at any time,” Grasse said of the parking rate. “At this point, they’re programmed to be [a minimum] 25 cents.”

The new meters are intended to keep parking spots open on Main Street and prevent the same vehicles from being parked in the same spaces all day, Seeley said.

Grasse proposed the idea to install new meters at a May 23 village board meeting, and brought a refurbished parking meter from Meter Products Company Inc. in Paterson, New Jersey, to show the board.

“They’re the same warranty as a new one,” Grasse said during the meeting. “Like everybody else, we’re getting into the 21st century.”

Forty new meters were delivered to the village Wednesday and village Public Works Department employees are expected to install them soon in front of the Greene County Office Building down to West Bridge Street, Grasse said.

More will be installed through the rest of the village to replace more than 140 old meters.

“These are going to be completed, but it’s going to be in phases,” Grasse said. “I want to make sure the public knows we’re going to install these.”

The new meters will take quarters, he said.

“There’s no more dimes and nickels,” Grasse added.

Previous village board members debated about installing mechanical meters, which accept coins or muni-meters and allow drivers to pay for parking with cash or a credit card and receive a slip to put in their vehicles, Seeley said.

“Right now, our most cost-effective means forward is to purchase these low-cost mechanical meters while we look into a solution for the next couple of years,” he explained.

Grasse attended previous village board meetings and heard about the existing parking meters needing constant repairs at $170 per meter, he said. The refurbished meters cost about $190 each and $16,000 is set aside in the village’s budget for repairing them.

“They’ll make enough money to pay for themselves,” Grasse said. “It’s not even anything extra out of the budget just yet.”

The $16,000 set aside to repair parking meters will be used to install the new ones, Seeley said.

The existing meters are more than 20 years old, Seeley added, and compared them to continually fixing an old car to the point where it’s less costly to purchase a new one.

“We’ve kind of reached that tipping point where we’re going to make the investment,” he said.

Previous village boards considered eliminating parking meters, but Catskill Police Chief David Darling said the meters need to be replaced, not taken away, because removing them will cause a parking issue on Main Street.

“When you take those meters out, what happens is, everybody parks on Main Street all day,” Darling said. “You’re never going to be able to take the meters out.”

The village municipal parking lot near the former Vogel’s Jewelry Store on Main Street will remain free of charge, Seeley said. The village previously spent $15,000 to have a parking machine that required visitors to pay for a space in the lot, but it wasn’t a hit with residents.

“We learned our lesson on that,” Seeley said. “That parking lot should stay free and it’s not being abused.”

The new meters will help village aesthetics, Grasse said, adding many residents have approached the board and Catskill police about replacing them.

“They’re going to look very attractive on Main Street,” Grasse said. “It’s a no-brainer.”

To reach reporter Daniel Zuckerman email or follow him on Twitter @DZuckerman_CGM