Plattsburgh leaders focus on parking fees and broken water pipes during latest council meeting
The Plattsburgh Common Council had parking and pipes on the agenda this week. Parking fees for the downtown and beach areas were under consideration and the city responded to the failure of a water system servicing residences on the former Air Force base.
The city has been considering a parking and fee management system for the city beach to implement when it opens Memorial Day weekend. There will be one flat daily fee of $12 and no hourly option. A seasonal permit for $60 is available.
Mayor Chris Rosenquest, a Democrat, says beach parking fees will used for beach infrastructure.
“We've run major deficits at the beach complex for many years now," the mayor said. "We can finally see some light at the end of that tunnel that we can maybe turn the page in the next few years and start generating a surplus for the beach.”
Ward 3 Democrat Elizabeth Gibbs was the only councilor to vote against the beach parking fee.
“Gas is $5 a gallon. Inflation is 7%. People's homes have just been reassessed. Property taxes have skyrocketed as a result," Gibbs said. "I mean, there's so much stress on families.”
Due to an old 1992 Falcon Seaboard agreement between the city and town that stipulates free access to beach facilities, this year residents of both municipalities are exempt from the parking fees.
Councilors then turned to a resolution establishing policies and fees for a downtown area parking system. Ward 4 Democrat Jennifer Tallon was among the councilors concerned that the proposed parking charges will impose undue financial burdens on downtown businesses and residents.
“I think we need to discuss the rates again," Tallon said. "Maybe some different ways to do permits. Perhaps there could be like a sliding scale due to income.”
Ward 5 Democrat Caitlin Bopp felt the proposed rates are too high.
“For downtown residents and downtown employees we should be looking at some kind of, not necessarily free pass, but something more reduced," said Bopp.
Ward 2 Democrat Mike Kelly said adjusting fees for one group merely passes the burden to someone else.
“If we're going to reduce the parking fees for annual permits and people who live downtown, we're going to charge everybody else more," said Kelly.
The mayor moved to withdraw the resolution to return it to the Finance Committee. Councilors unanimously agreed.
As councilors considered new business Mayor Rosenquest moved to waive the rules to deal with a serious problem with the water system on part of the old air force base.
“In 2005 the city of Plattsburgh inherited, gratefully inherited, a large parcel of lands from the then shuttered Plattsburgh Air Force Base," Rosenquest said. "Along with that came the inherited infrastructure. Since 2005 there have been 80 water main breaks in that area. This weekend we had 12 water main breaks between Friday night and Sunday morning. There is a, for lack of a better term, complete catastrophic failure of the water system in Lake Country village.”
Councilors approved an immediate appropriation of $10 million from the city’s 2022 Water System Improvements capital project to completely replace the water system in the affected region.