MOUNT KISCO, N.Y. -- The Mount Kisco Village Board will continue public hearings this month and in September on plans to raise parking fines.
The village held a public hearing July 15 to discuss whether to raise certain parking fines and the hearings are set to continue Aug. 12 and in September.
The Mount Kisco Finance Committee made the recommendation to raise fines on parking violations such as parking in front of a fire hydrant, parking in a handicapped space and parking meter violations during the July meeting. The committee was looking at village revenue sources and wanted to see if fines were line with what other municipalities charge in northern Westchester.
The committee proposed doubling the fine for parking meter violations from $10 to $20, and raising handicapped parking fines from $75 to $125. Other increases would be for parking in employee parking lots and parking during snow emergencies.
Overall, 25 of the village’s 99 parking violations would see fines increased. The village would also change the process of setting fines.
Mayor Michael Cindrich said he favors an increase on fines that impact quality of life in Mount Kisco, like parking in a fire lane, but said he is not sure about raising fines on meter parking violations.
“I am reviewing with some of the merchants the downtown parking situation,” Cindrich said. “There has to be more viable solutions to complaints we have been receiving.”
Cindrich said merchants have often complained about the village not having enough parking spots and parking being too expensive for merchants and employees.
Cindrich later conceded parking is always a tough balancing act.
“I am studying a number of options to encourage the use of parking lots and make the parking lots more attractive to consumers and merchants,” Cindrich said.
The village has also received complaints from residents about pay stations. Residents have complained that pay stations are too cumbersome, they can’t remember their parking number and it is inconvenient for short-term parking.
“It is something we need to be studying before we decide to increase parking fines,” Cindrich said. He added they will be hearing presentations from vendors about replacing parking meters.
“I have received parking tickets for inoperable meters,” Cindrich said. “We need to address the situation.”
While free parking would be ideal, Cindrich said parking meters and parking tickets are a necessary evil.
“It’d be great to say we can give away parking and remove meters, it’s not viable,” Cindrich said. “There’s the cost of maintenance, improvements, patrolling the lot. It’s not an easy situation to resolve. We try to accommodate the merchants in anyway we can. We want to make downtown accessible and attractive. It’s difficult to regulate and accommodate both customers and merchants.”
The village is also exploring reducing fines for parking tickets paid within 12 to 24 hours.
Cindrich said he hopes residents offer constructive criticism at the public hearings in August and September.
“We want to make downtown a better place,” he said.
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