EASTCHESTER, N.Y. The Eastchester Town Board tabled any further action on a proposed law that would have increased the number of hours parking meters are in effect and agreed to consider a compromise after residents and business owners came out in force against the plan.
The town board listened to resident, after resident speak about how their lives would be if the new law went into effect.
At issue is an amendment to a local law that would decrease the amount of time 25 cents pays for in the towns parking meters from 40 minutes to 30 minutes on 10-hour meters. The law would also increase the cost of commuter parking passes by $10 per month. But it was the proposal to change meter times from 8 a.m.6 p.m. to 8 a.m.9 p.m. that fueled community objection. Still, Supervisor Anthony Colavita said the town estimates that it would earn roughly $530,000 by changing the meter times.
The only resident in favor of the amendment, Steven Altamura, was booed and heckled when he spoke in favor of the change. "I think the increase in the meter times will help reduce the tax burden on residents," Altamura said. "We have some of the highest taxes in the nation, and people cannot afford it."
Several residents of Garth Road spoke to the board about how their lives would be if they had to come home from work, feed the meter, only to go back out two hours later when the meter expired to put in more money.
Garth Road resident Steve Ryba challenged the measure, calling it half-baked, ridiculous and irresponsible.
"We figured it was better to raise revenue from outside sources, such as meters that are used by residents and nonresidents, than to raise taxes, which will put the increase completely on the residents," Colavita said.
Mike Hynes, co-owner of Mickey Spillane's, located on White Plains Road, explained to the board that if customers have to interrupt a meal to go out to feed a meter, they may look to dine elsewhere.
"This hurts, hurts, hurts, way more than you can imagine," Hynes said. "The night is the peak time for a restaurant to make money, and we will lose money. We are not going to last through something like this."
Hynes said a suggestion from Council member Luigi Marcoccia to change the meter times to 7 a.m.7 p.m. would have less of a negative impact on area restaurants. "I would prefer other options, but if they increase it to 7 p.m., at least people will put money in the meter before they come in and be done with it," Hynes said.
Marcoccia's suggestion came after one made by Council member Glenn Bellitto who suggested the meter times go from 8 a.m.8 p.m., which seemed to garner the support of Colavita as well.
Council member Joe Dooley indicated that he would not vote for an extension of 9 p.m., noting it would be too difficult for residents and businesses to abide by.
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