No Meter Hikes After All
The dreaded meter rate hikes came to a halt late last week with the help of a Bronx councilmember who was able to negotiate a deal with the mayor to keep the rates at the current price until at least July 1.
Councilman James Vacca, the Council’s transportation committee chairperson, backed by the support of the entire Council, negotiated a last minute reprieve from the 25 cents per hour increase in the outer boroughs and north of 86th Street in Manhattan.
Instead, the meters will not be raised from their current rate of 75 cents per hour to $1 until at least the beginning of the next fiscal year on July 1. Prior to the budget’s approval, another round of budget negotiations between the mayor and Council could include another proposal to increase the meters. The mayor is expected to release a preliminary budget later this month. South of 86th Street in Manhattan, however, the new meter rate, which began last week, rises from $2.50 an hour to $3.00. The deal was part of $35 million in budget cuts restored to the current operating budget.
Councilmember Ulrich was pleased with the deal.
“While small increases in taxes and fees don’t seem like a big deal to some people at City Hall, they add up quickly for residents,” Ulrich said this week. “I am pleased that the Council was able to prevent this parking meter rate increase, which also had the potential to hurt small businesses. These types of fiscal gimmicks are short-sighted and do little to address the city’s budget woes in the long run.”
Councilmember James Sanders could not be reached for comment.
Perhaps more important than the meter rates was the rescinding of a plan to close up to 20 fire companies during nighttime hours; a proposal many locals and elected officials feared would not spare Engine 328 in Far Rockaway, which has been on the budgetary chopping block for the past couple of years.