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Skaneateles contemplating wheel lock device

It's been quiet on the parking front in the village of Skaneateles for a while now, but that's not to say a committee hasn't been diligently working to remedy past issues and concerns.

According to village Trustee Kathryn Carlson, discussions regarding fines began when the board was talking about parking fees for construction. Over the past three years the village has averaged a 40 percent return on parking tickets, she said during the board's Nov. 23 meeting.

"As we investigated why this would be, several factors came out," Carlson said.

For starters, the village does not have a successful means of collecting fines. Second, there is a lack of communication when it comes to reminding people they owe the village those fines.

Carlson went on to say the committee -- which includes herself, Trustee Tim Lynn and Police Chief Lloyd Perkins -- began looking at what they could do to correct the two problems, starting with soliciting information from other villages similar in size to Skaneateles as to what has worked best for them.

Ultimately, the best deterrent for parking violators is a wheel lock, more commonly known to some as a "boot" placed on the tires of those in violation. According to Carlson, a wheel lock costs approximately $500 for one, and communities of similar size to Skaneateles have found only one is needed and rarely used.

"People who have used it have been very happy," Carlson said.

According to Perkins, Lake Placid, a community extremely similar to Skaneateles, has used their wheel lock twice in four years. As a result of instituting the device, the village has seen the meter revenues go up and the number of parking tickets go down. There has been very little public outcry, he added.

Larger communities, such as the cities of Auburn and Syracuse, use the wheel lock fairly regularly and sometimes daily.

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