Originally posted in Nyack News and Views — February 12, 2009
The Village Board has on the agenda to discuss raising parking fees, and there may be no hotter topic they could pick. There is a flurry of emails going out alerting the public of the upcoming event.
The Chamber of Commerce has sent out an email to their members asking “Will anyone shop in Nyack?”. Many activists have sent out to their mailing lists calling for people to come to tonight’s meeting and say “NO” to raising parking rates. Check out the Nyack Social Scene for more postings.
There is a there a better way to do this.
Unfortunately, the traditional public hearing process more often than not leads to less-than-civil discourse on issues. It tends to bring opposition to the meetings in a mood to complain. Only a small number of strong supporters will tend to show up, only those willing to get abused by the mob. Most people, who want a rational discussion on the matter, would rather have a root canal than go to such a meeting.
What the Village needs to do is outline the issues and write them down, and get the word out through multiple channels. We at Nyack News and Views are more than happy to post it.
There needs to be an ongoing discussion about how to balance the various goals in the Village. There seems to be a sense of a conflict between the interests of business owners and residents of the Village (not UPPER or SOUTH Nyack). Should property owners subsidize those living outside the Village, or vice versa? Obviously, there needs to be a balance.
The Village offers the commercial and cultural center for the surrounding area, and somehow those living outside the Village boundaries need to pay their fair share for the benefit of living close to that activity. Those living outside the Village but close, pay school taxes, the library tax, and parking fees. Those farther out pay through parking fees alone.
The issue is: what is fair?
We encourage a civil and respectful discussion on the matter. That is what the Village Board deserves, who give up their time in public service. They are not getting rich making these decisions; they are doing the best they can. They deserve our respect.
On the other hand, the Village should do a better job communicating their intentions and decision process. That way the public does not need to send out last minute emails to gather the troops to stop what is perceived to be a “done deal” decision.
This issue will not be resolved tonight. It is an ongoing balancing act the Village needs to review at least once a year.
And yes, people will continue to shop at Nyack. The world won’t end if the rates are raised. Let us not sell ourselves short. People pay $8 to cross the river to go to New York City because they WANT to go to the City. People will pay 75 cents an hour to park in the most desirable commercial/cultural center in Rockland County!