The Plattsburgh City Council had parking and pipes on the agenda this week. Parking fees for downtown and beaches were under review, and the city responded to the failure of a water system serving residences at the former Air Force base.
The city plans to implement a parking and fee management system for the city beach when it opens on Memorial Day weekend. There will be a fixed daily rate of $12 and no hourly options. A seasonal permit for $60 is available.
Mayor Chris Rosenquest, a Democrat, says beach parking fees will be used for beach infrastructure.
“We have had major deficits at the beach complex for many years now,” the mayor said. “We can finally see a light at the end of this tunnel that maybe we can turn the page in the next few years and start generating a surplus for the beach.
Ward 3 Democrat Elizabeth Gibbs was the only councilwoman to vote against the beach parking fee.
“Gasoline is $5 a gallon. Inflation is 7%. People’s homes have just been re-evaluated. Property taxes have skyrocketed as a result,” Gibbs said. “I mean, there’s so much stress on the families.
Due to an old 1992 Falcon Seaboard agreement between the city and the city that stipulates free access to beach facilities, this year residents of both municipalities are exempt from parking fees.
Councilors then turned to a resolution establishing policies and fees for a downtown parking system. Ward 4 Democrat Jennifer Tallon was among councilors who worried the proposed parking fee would impose undue financial burdens on downtown businesses and residents.
“I think we need to discuss pricing again,” Tallon said. “Maybe different ways of doing permits. Maybe there could be some sort of sliding scale due to income.
Ward 5 Democrat Caitlin Bopp said the proposed rates were too high.
“For downtown residents and employees, we should be looking at some sort of pass, not necessarily free, but something more discounted,” Bopp said.
Ward 2 Democrat Mike Kelly said adjusting the fee for one group just shifts the burden to someone else.
“If we’re going to lower parking fees for annual permits and people who live downtown, we’re going to charge everyone more,” Kelly said.
The Mayor proposes to withdraw the resolution to return it to the finance committee. Councilors unanimously accepted.
As councilors considered new business, Mayor Rosenquest offered to waive the rules to deal with a serious problem with the water system on part of the former Air Force base.
“In 2005, the City of Plattsburgh gratefully inherited a large parcel of land from the then-closed Plattsburgh Air Force Base,” Rosenquest said. “With that came legacy infrastructure. Since 2005, there have been 80 water main breaks in this area. This weekend, we had 12 water main breaks between Friday night and Sunday morning. There are, for lack of a better term, a catastrophic complete failure of the water system in the village of Lake Country.
Councilors approved an immediate $10 million appropriation from the city’s 2022 Water System Improvements Capital Project to completely replace the water system in the affected area.