By Matt Michael, Staff writer
In December, the village of Solvay became the first suburban municipality in Onondaga County to use the “boot.”
And judging by Solvay’s success, it’s possible other municipalities will give it a try.
The “boot” is a wheel-locking device that immobilizes vehicles and keeps parking scofflaws from driving away before paying their fines. Solvay Police Chief Richard Cox told the village board at its Jan. 26 meeting that the village collected $4,180 in parking fines in December – an increase of $2,300 from December 2007.
Cox said December is usually the village’s slowest month because people are spending their money on Christmas presents instead of parking fines.
“The message is out there now, and more people are coming in and paying their fines,” Cox said.
Cox said his department issues 2,700 parking tickets a year, and scofflaws owe the village around $140,000. The money collected from the fines goes into the village’s general fund.
The police created a “hot sheet” of the village’s top 10 parking scofflaws, and Cox said two of them have been booted and five have paid what the courts ordered them to pay.
The courts treat each case differently, and so far the scofflaws have not had to pay the full amount of their fines.
“We write the tickets and boot the cars, and it’s up to the courts to do what they want to do,” Cox said. “But if it wasn’t for the booting, we’d get nothing.”
In other Solvay news:
Several neighbors from Darrow Avenue attended the board meeting to complain about a resident who lives on the street. The neighbors said the resident won’t clean up debris on his front lawn, starts fires in a makeshift fire pit and plays loud music late at night.
The neighbors said the problems have been going on for two years, and they’re worried about the children in the neighborhood.
Cox said the police are monitoring the house. He said patrol cars would spend more time on Darrow, and police will have “a zero tolerance” policy toward the resident’s behavior.
It’s seven months into the village’s fiscal year and comptroller Mike Fecco said the budget is “right on schedule and looking good.” Fecco said the village had a surplus of more than $100,000, which will help offset last year’s deficit of $181,000. He said it’s possible the village will be able to “knock off” the entire $181,000 deficit by the end of the fiscal year (June 30).
The board will hold a public hearing at 6 p.m. Feb. 24 at Geddes Town Hall to discuss the village’s five-year plan for Community Development funds it receives from Onondaga County.
This year’s project involves improvements at Gertrude Park Pool. The village will receive $60,000 from the county (75 percent of the project cost) and will be responsible for the remaining $20,000.
Matt Michael can be reached at 470-3085 or email@example.com.