Chamber of Commerce asks Pelham village board to reconsider doubling of downtown parking fines

Chamber of Commerce asks Pelham village board to reconsider doubling of downtown parking fines

Pelham Chamber of Commerce President Cristina Chianese asked the Pelham village board Tuesday to consider other options to the doubling of fines for downtown parking meter violations approved in late May.

Before the meeting, the chamber also sent a letter to Mayor Chance Mullen on the issue.

“Its optics,” said Chianese of the new fines during the board’s regular meeting. “I think $50 just sounds like a big fee. It’s just a lot to sort of absorb, especially in a financial world where people have been impacted across the board, and I think local businesses are just really worried about that.”

During its May 24 meeting, the board raised the fines for downtown parking tickets from $25 to $50 (with payment within 24 hours set at $30 instead of the previous $15). The decision was made after a public hearing.

The increase in the fines was aimed at “bringing them up to 2022 levels,” said Mullen at Tuesday’s meeting.   

Chianese said the board could consider either setting a flat fine of $35 or charging violators $30 for the first 24 hours with an increase to $40 after that time is up.

Deputy Mayor Michael Carpenter said the trustees should look into keeping the fines as adopted but extending the 24-hour limit so residents have more time to pay without the penalty being raised.

Mullen said violators needed an incentive in order to pay their tickets, something a 24-hour limit provides.

“We would come out of this conversation with a higher ticket fee for over half of the people who pay their tickets, that is what feels sort of awkward about this,” Mullen said. This is because 40% of those fined in June payed their tickets within the first 24 hours of issuance.   

The board agreed to make a final decision at a future work session, tabling the debate for the time being. They will also discuss a possible decrease in the fine for violating overnight street parking, which is $40 if paid within the first 24 hours and $80 afterwards.  

The board appointed Police Lt. Danny Green as provisional police chief and Sgt. Michael Sheehy as lieutenant, following the retirement of former Chief Jason Pallet. 

A series of resolutions were also adopted regarding sanitary sewers and flood mitigation.

The next board meeting is scheduled for July 26 at 7 p.m.