Councilwoman Joan Gronowski, D-3rd District, issued a press release this morning calling for an end to free parking for city employees at the Government Center Garage next to City Hall to help the Yonkers Parking Authority with an $800,000 debt it can’t afford.
The Yonkers Parking Authority needs $800,000 for an expected settlement of payment dispute it has with the former owner of a property at the corner of Saw Mill River Road and Lockwood Avenue.
The authority took the property using eminent domain and put a municipal parking lot there, which has been a money loser.
Last week Yonkers Inspector General Dan Schorr issued a report recommending that the city take out an $800,000 loan for the expected debt and have the authority slowly pay it back.
Gronowski writes that the city workers who currently get free parking should be required to pay for their parking to help the authority meet its debts.
Here’s her release:
Councilwoman gronowski questions city council bonding to pay parking authority settlement
Yonkers Third District Councilmember Joan Gronowski is criticizing a plan that calls for the Yonkers City Council to bond an $800,000 settlement facing the Yonkers Parking Authority stemming from its 2001 seizure of property through Eminent Domain.
The property is a parking lot at 310 Saw Mill River Road. According to Deputy Mayor William Regan, also Chair of the Parking Authority Board, the agency doesn’t have enough money to pay for the settlement.
The City Council CIP bonding was an alternative financing option suggested by Yonkers Inspector General Dan Schorr, which includes annual repayments of approximately $85,000 by the Authority to the City of Yonkers until 2024.
In April 2009, Gronowski issued a statement calling upon the city administration to require all Yonkers employees using the Government Center Garage at City Hall to pay for parking. Gronowski stated, “there are scores of employees – including Commissioners and elected officials and their staffs, who do not pay for parking at the facility”, further noting that she first highlighted this fact during her campaign for city council.
The Administration suggested city council legislation might be entertained, but Gronowski had no support for her proposal. However, Gronowski states, “The Yonkers Parking Authority, at any time, could have implemented this policy which would have demonstrated good business sense and fair and equitable parking fee collection. Perhaps if these procedures had been put in place in past years, the Authority would have had the necessary means to pay their own legal fees”.
Gronowski further noted that free parking, city cars, gas and cell phones all contribute to the sense of entitlement by city officials which have greatly contributed toward the fiscal problems facing us today.