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Letter: Alternatives for 10 Additional Parking Spaces for Town Hall

Our elected officials have a duty to be fiscally responsible and to act in the best interest of their constituents. With the potential town acquisition of 51 Andrew St. in Manhasset, the town appears to be ignoring both of these responsibilities. At a special meeting on Aug. 31, Supervisor Kaiman and Councilperson Poons explained that the town wanted the property so that it could obtain 10 additional parking spaces for town hall and additional office space in which the code department would be temporarily housed.

Constituents inquired as to a cost/ benefit analysis of such an acquisition and what alternatives had been explored.

Clearly no alternatives had been explored and no cost/benefit had been done. In addition, no concern was shown to act in the best interest of the constituents who want to maintain the residential character of the neighborhood. Supervisor Kaiman said he wants to spend upwards of $1 million of taxpayer dollars (includes the $625,000 purchase price, plus costs for renovations to house and parking area) to temporarily house the code department and gain 10 additional parking spaces for the town. At the Aug.31 meeting the following alternatives were suggested. Supervisor Kaiman stated that none of these alternatives had been explored.

In these difficult economic times, the following alternatives should be explored before using taxpayer dollars in this way:

Viable alternatives to find 10 additional parking spaces for Town Hall:

1. Use space at property already owned by the town.

Supervisor Kaiman mentioned that some people drive their cars to Town Hall and then pick up a town vehicle to do town business. Instead of driving to Town Hall for this, why can’t these employees drive to the Department of Public Works on Denton Avenue or Bar Beach to swap cars? These properties are both owned by the town and would require no additional expenditure.

2. Stop renewal of parking permits to local businesses such as the gas station and auto repair shop near Town Hall.

These permits are renewed every 3 years and allow these businesses to rent out space to non-Manhasset residents to use the Manhasset trains. The town should stop issuing these permits or renew them with the agreement that 10 spaces will be allotted to the town.

3. Eliminate assigned parking spaces at Town Hall.

On any given day, there are open spots because they are reserved for certain people. Given that council members and others do not come to town hall everyday, eliminating assigned spaces would allow others to park in those open spots. In addition, there are assigned spots for people who no longer work at Town Hall. Eliminating those assigned spots would relinquish such spaces for others. Private businesses do not reserve assigned spots for their employees. Our local government should be run more like a business. Town hall employees are already issued parking stickers for their cars; they don’t need reserved spaces.

4. Explore the rental of 10 parking spaces from the Christ Church property. It appears that the church would be happy to earn some additional revenue and the property is located close to town hall.

Viable alternatives for additional office space:

Town employees can share offices and cubicles. This is a practice that many businesses have instituted in these tough times. Anyone can walk through Town Hall to see that most offices are not shared and the opportunity to do so does exist.

If you agree that spending $1 million of taxpayer money in this way is wrong, please join us at the Town Board meeting when this item will be raised for the board vote. Please check, Town Board agenda to see when this will be on the docket.

Brian and Debbie Wachter