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Syracuse passes new rules for property owners that boot cars parked illegally

via Flickr
An example of a car that has been booted.

The Syracuse Common Council has passed legislation regulating how property owners can boot cars parked illegally on private property. Until now, property owners could charge whatever they wanted to have the boot removed.

Any property owners, who are booting in the city of Syracuse, will now have to get a license. They can charge $100 and the booter has to come and release it within 30 minutes from when they are called and the fine is paid.    

Two councilors, Joe Carni and Nader Maroun voted against the legislation, not because they do not think there should be regulations, but because there are still unanswered questions surrounding parking enforcement in Syracuse.

Carni said the Council is discussing raising rates on the tow truck companies the city uses.

"I don’t see how we can get a price for a boot, before we even go and reevaluate and reassess or increase the tow companies," Carni said. "There should be some sort of sliding scale, that works there. To establish this price without looking at that, doesn’t make any sense to me. I truly believe we would have benefited from holding it for another two weeks and worked together again, discussed it further and did a little bit more research."

Maroun said there is a connection between public and private booting. Syracuse is still negotiating a new contract with Paylock, the company used by the city to do booting on public property. The city pays Paylock a $50 flat fee plus 28 percent of parking fines, penalties and surcharges.

"What’s the best aggregated program that we could have for the city, whether it’s private or public property for booting?" Maroun asked. "Establish a benchmark for what the cost might be."

Maroun wants to know how the city is going to collect on unpaid parking tickets.

“There is a deficit in the city of Syracuse financially," Maroun said. "On the books right now, there is $5.6 million plus that is owed to the city for something in the neighborhood of 78,000 tickets. We need to look at this in the complete picture to understand what it is that we can do best to realize those funds at the cheapest cost to decrease our deficit.”

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.