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Parking boots, $15 minimum wage and tax breaks all on Syracuse Common Council agenda

Tom Magnarelli
Some union members advocating for $15 an hour minimum wage at the council chambers.

The Syracuse Common Council is holding off plans to prohibit the use of parking boots by property managers on cars parked illegally. A number of business-related items came up on the council’s agenda.

Councilor-at-large Steven Thompson said property managers are telling him that the parking boots are a good alternative to calling a tow truck when someone is parked illegally on their property.

“The boot allows them the option to secure the vehicle and not have to worry about calling for a tow truck, one being available, one showing up,” Thompson said. “It gives them some teeth for people that park illegally on their property.”

The Syracuse Police Department has received calls on arguments over the booting. There are no regulations as to how much a property owner can charge to have the boot removed although Thompson said it has been generally staying in line with what tow trucks charge. Committee hearings will be held in the next couple of weeks to discuss the issue. 

"I want to get the data on how often this is occurring, where it's occurring," Thompson said. "Is it one location or city wide?"

Union members in attendance at Monday’s council session were pleased the council voted to petition the state to raise the minimum wage in the city to $15 an hour. The one dissenting vote came from the council’s only Republican, Joe Carni. He helps run an import market his family owns and says he is sympathetic to small businesses.

“There are a lot of small businesses that can’t handle that, demanding that we do $15 minimum wage,” Carni said. “It will force a lot of small businesses to close or force them out of the city. We need small businesses in the city.”

One business received unanimous support from the council. A Price Rite grocery store in an area of the city that lacks access to fresh food now has a ten-year tax deal with the hopes of construction beginning in the spring.

Tom Magnarelli is a reporter covering the central New York and Syracuse area. He joined WRVO as a freelance reporter in 2012 while a student at Syracuse University and was hired full time in 2015. He has reported extensively on politics, education, arts and culture and other issues around central New York.