Mount Kisco's Village Board of Trustees, at its July 15 meeting, voted to adjourn a public hearing that involves raising parking fines. The hearing will continue on Aug. 12
The proposal includes raising fine amounts for 25 of the village's 99 types of parking violations. This would include double the fine for metered parking from $10 to $20, with the steepest being for parking in handicapped spots, which would rise from $75 to $125. The other violations targeted include parking in spots reserved for village employees, parking during snow emergencies and parking in fire zones. Legislative changes would involve an overhaul of the process for setting fines, transitioning from a sequence in which specific maximum amount of given in the code text to referral of a fine schedule.
A reason for considering raising fines, Trustee Anthony Markus explained, is to get revenue while the village faces a tax cap, which is a state mandated limit on how much tax revenue, albeit with exemptions, can be increased for one budget cycle from the previous one. The board's consideration of higher fines also comes as it faces rising stated-mandated costs, according to Markus, who sits on the village's finance committee.
Ten percent of the fine proceeds could be used for economic development, Markus explained, citing aesthetic improvement as an example.
During public comment, Karine Patino, whose family operates a Western Union business on North Moger Avenue, opposed increasing the metered parking fine amount, calling it "very unfair.”
Patino noted that some people can't afford to pay, and noted how the timing restriction on parking can conflict with local activity such as a hair appointment. She also felt that enforcement should not be as aggressive as it is done elsewhere.
“This isn't the city. This isn't White Plains. It's Mount Kisco," said Patino, who grew up locally.
Patino also felt that if an increase is done, then it shouldn't be by as steep of an amount.
“If you really have to do it, do it in a moderate way.”
Mayor Michael Cindrich indicated that he might not vote in favor of raising the fine level for metered parking, citing malfunctioning meters and inconveniences with the pay stations as factors to take care of. However, Cindrich felt that the stations' future ubiquity is likely, noting that they are becoming a trend. He also called for dealing with communication for broken meters.
The village is also doing an assessment of its meters, Village Manager James Palmer said.
The board is not expected to take action on the legislation until September, Cindrich said.
Meanwhile, the idea of raising the handicapped parking fine level, or at least more aggressive enforcement, had support at the meeting
Trustee Karen Schleimer called for raising the level even higher than proposed, while resident Patric Kilkenny wants police to enforce the restriction in places such as the A&P shopping center.