Huntington Scraps "Paid Parking"
by Maureen Daly
The controversial proposal to make the free parking lots in Huntington into paid parking has been scrapped - and removed from the Town of Huntington's budget.
The "paid parking" proposal originated from the Town's Deputy Supervisor John McCarron, and the town Controller's Office, and was supposed to bring in over $1 million per year in fees and parking fines.
However, according to recent news reports from the Northport Observer, the Town has a "reserve fund" of over $50 million, meaning there was no fiscal emergency. The downtown business community and town residents nearly all opposed the "paid parking" concept.
At the November 17th Town Board meeting, Councilman Sal Ferro (R) proposed an amendment to remove the paid parking from the budget.
"We need to eliminate the need for metered parking," stated Ferro, whose amendment was then passed by a vote 4-1.
Councilman Dr. Dave Bennardo (R), who co-sponsored the Ferro amendment, explained that the Town would not fill several open positions - saving $700,000 - and would then tap the Town's reserve fund for the $300,000 balance.
"This plan balances the budget," stated Bennardo, "and does it without a hidden tax. It's balanced, prudent, empathetic and it works."