The Port Washington Train Station (Photo by Julie Prisco)

Town Decision To Suspend The Port Washington Park District’s Fee Schedule Has Been Approved

On Tuesday, Jan. 9, the Town of North Hempstead hosted its first town board meeting of the new year. At the meeting, resolution 36 was called to amend resolution 600-2020, adopted on Dec. 17, 2020, to amend the fee schedule for parking permits in the Port Washington Public Parking District.

Due to concerns and questions voiced by some board members, the resolution was tabled to be discussed at the next board meeting on Tuesday, Feb. 6. After a lengthy discussion to clarify the details of the Port Washington Parking District fee schedule, the resolution passed.

Review of the Jan. 9 Town Board Meeting
According to Councilmember Mariann Dalimonte’s newsletter from January, she proposed this resolution to amend the fee schedule for an Annual Parking Pass in the Port Washington Public Parking District. Each year, the Annual Parking Pass is increased by $75.00. Councilmember Dalimonte “asked the Town Board to suspend the increases for 2024 ( to $625) and for 2025 (to $700).”

During the meeting, Councilmember Dalimonte explained that during the COVID-19 pandemic, “at the Dec. 17, 2020 meeting, we had a fee schedule to increase the yearly parking fees. And we said at that meeting if we get to a place where we have that revenue, we will stop waiving those fees, so for 2024 and 2025, we had a $75 increase each. And we’ve actually seen our numbers going down because it got very expensive. So we’re hoping that if we keep it at the 2023 number of $550 for a yearly pass, we will have more than 513 residents get the pass. So that is the reason for this. It’s to help the residents in the Port Washington Parking District that get taxed for this as well.”

Councilmember Edward Scott (District 2), who was new to the town board, questioned the resolution. He asked about the other parking districts in the town and was told that the other parking districts don’t follow the same procedures as Port’s. For example, Roslyn’s parking district is part of the town and is included in the general fund.

Councilmember Scott requested to table the item with the idea that the town can look into Port Washington’s Parking District to see if it can be standardized. While Councilmember Dalimonte shared that the district cannot be standardized because it is a special district, Councilmember Scott insisted he’d like to look into the situation to see how this affects the constituents in his district.
The resolution was tabled so that Councilmember Scott could review and familiarize himself with the details.

The Tuesday, Feb. 6 Town of North Hempstead Board Meeting. (Screenshot from the Town of North Hempstead Board Meeting Archives)

Review of the Feb. 6 Town Board Meeting
The resolution was brought up first at the meeting on Feb. 6 to be discussed and voted on at the Town Board Meeting.

“Last month at our board meeting, I truly didn’t understand what was transpiring with the parking district, and I didn’t have enough information, and I wanted to find out more about it,” said Councilmember Scott.

Councilmember Scott explained that he did his research and called previous council members to discuss the Port Washington Parking District and the fee schedules but was never able to connect with Councilmember Dalimonte to discuss it.

Councilmember Scott said that Councilmember Dalimonte never came to discuss this with him and claimed he visited her office to discuss it with her, but she wasn’t there. Councilmember Dalimonte claims to have no record of him wanting to see her at her office.

Councilmember Dalimonte took the time to explain the resolution and the workings of the Port Washington Parking District again for the town board members and the public to hear. She explained again how, in December 2020, during the COVID-19 pandemic, the Port Washington Parking District revenue was unsustainable due to lockdowns and people not buying the yearly parking pass for commuter lots at the train station.

“In order to sustain [the Port Washington Parking District], we had a raise. We raised the daily to three dollars; the monthly was raised to $60. Then, we did increments of the yearly parking. We made a comparison to the other parking districts, like Great Neck and Manhasset, that were on our train line. So, at that time, we were following what Manhasset does,” said Councilmember Dalimonte.
Councilmember Dalimonte wanted to sustain the parking district to remain exclusive for Port residents. If it weren’t exclusive, then the commuter lots at the train station would fill much quicker, and it would be hard for residents to find parking.

“If we move it into the Town of North Hempstead general fund, everybody and anybody can park there. And then you lose that right to have it just be for District 6. And that’s why it was set up,” said Councilmember Dalimonte. “We don’t want it to go into the general fund. We want to keep this where it’s our community. So, I had to make a very tough decision in 2020 to increase the fees.”

“I promised all the communities of Port Washington that once we have overcome our shortfall, we would stop increasing the annual commuter parking fee. So that’s what I’m trying to do now,” said Councilmember Dalimonte. “Now, I’m asking for it to be suspended. So, it would stop at the 2023 parking pass, which is $550 a year. And then what I want to do for the 2025 budget is go back and see if we can even decrease that more.”

“That’s my goal because, you know what, we as residents support this parking district through our taxes and paying the meters. Let’s see what else we can do. This is just step one to suspend it,” said Councilmember Dalimonte.

The resolution was voted on and passed unanimously.

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