By Autumn Evans
North Tonawanda is making a move to solve the issue of unpaid parking tickets following Tuesday's Common Council work session.
City Clerk/Treasurer Dan Quinn reported North Tonawanda residents currently owe more than $40,000 in unpaid parking tickets. As a result, he wanted to implement a state program called PREED, or the Parking Regulation Electronic Enforcement and Disposition System.
Under PREED, the city would set up an account in Albany. If a driver gets three parking tickets in an 18-month period, the city could put a mark on record, and the driver would be unable to reregister their vehicle until the tickets were paid.
After a driver is added, the state would send the driver's registration to the city. After the tickets are paid, the city would return the driver's registration and they would be able to reregister their vehicle at the DMV.
Quinn said it costs $2 to add someone's license plate number to PREED. However, the city would still receive the full fees from parking tickets. He hoped to have the system set up by the end of summer or fall at the latest.
"With towing, it's just difficult, because there's only one towing service and there's only so many cars they can take care of," he said. "There are people out there that do pay right away - they get the ticket, they pay - but then there are some who get six or seven tickets and they sit on them."
Quinn called PREED a no-brainer. Several aldermen also agreed it was a great solution.
In other Common Council news:
•In preparation for the opening of Deerwood Golf Course on Thursday, the Council met with Keith Miranto, golf director in the city's Department of Youth and Recreation. He sought the Council's advice in offering coupons to attract nonresident golfers.
Miranto said he was hesitant to do so because it could disrupt the golfing schedules of regulars, but he noted the success of a television giveaway last year.
"My goal is to bring in the most money I can for the city. I might be accused of trying to run it like a business. I look at it like a business," he said.
"Well, you have to run it like a business, so don't apologize for that," Alderman Rob Pecoraro said. "It's a revenue generator for the city. It's great."
The Council expressed support for using special promotions to draw people to the course during down times when fewer locals play.
Miranto also noted that, without intervention, when the course opens Thursday one of the nine-hole courses will be unavailable due to drainage issues. Likewise, because of the wet ground, carts cannot be used.
•The Buffalo Audobon Society plans to build a small rain shelter, install signage and improve walking paths in an area of the North Tonawanda Audubon Nature Preserve, mayor's assistant Robert Welch told the Council. The signs, to be installed at the entrance of the area, would explain the land and what sights might be seen there. As for the walking paths, Welch said they planned to place boards over the path where it dips below water level and becomes flooded. The society hopes to begin work this spring or early summer with the help of volunteers. The plans were presented as information only. The society needs a DEC permit to proceed.
•The Council also announced public information meetings regarding the revitalization of Oliver Street will be held from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. April 23 and April 28 at Dom Polski, 576 Oliver St.
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