Village Board Approves Parking Ticket Increase

On Monday, March 5, the Pawling Village Board convened for their first meeting of the month. The agenda included a discussion of the ongoing issues regarding parking within the Village, including a resolution to increase parking ticket fees.

The session began with a letter read aloud from Dutchess County Sheriff Adrian “Butch” Anderson to Village Mayor Robert Liffland. The correspondence read, in part: “In light of recent events concerning violence, particularly the school shooting tragedy in Florida, I am writing to reassure you that the Dutchess County Sheriff's Office is fully trained and prepared for any situation that may occur. Our men and women are highly trained to confront and deal with any threat, in any situation, and rest assured that safety is our top priority.” Village officials praised the Dutchess County Sheriff's Office for their Active Shooter Awareness Program, which has been ongoing throughout area schools to ensure that students have a safe and secure learning environment.

The Board then discussed several matters related to parking. Village officials announced that they have opted not to purchase a new parking ticket machine for the Metro North parking lot as previously considered. The machine, capable of accepting credit card payments, would have become obsolete on December 31, 2018. Instead, the Board is now considering options that would enable commuters to pay for parking via a smart phone app. The system would allow the purchase of a designated parking spot in the Metro North commuter lot without the need to use an automated kiosk. A record of payments, space numbers, and license plate numbers will then be made available to officials who will monitor the lot to ensure that all commuters have paid the appropriate parking fee.

Finally, officials addressed a resolution to increase the penalty for parking tickets received within the Village. Board members approved a resolution to increase fees from $25 to $50 for each offense. While the new structure represents an increase in penalties, the fees are still lower than many surrounding municipalities. In addition, the Village of Pawling also boasts a three-hour parking limit, higher than most other surrounding areas.

Previously, the Village Board considered the implementation of a new parking fee structure of $50 for a first offense, $100 for a second, and $250 for a third violation. While under consideration, this new fee structure was met with disapproval from residents, landlords, and local business owners. During the February 20th Board meeting, more than 20 concerned citizens attended the meeting at Village Hall to voice their objections to the new policy. Residents also expressed a desire for more merchant and handicapped spots to be made available to alleviate the parking problem that currently exists in the Village. Officials are currently examining potential properties to add necessary parking spots.

The next Village Board meeting will be held on Monday, March 19 at 7:00 p.m. at Village Hall, 9 Memorial Ave.