As the village waits out a pair of investigations into theft from parking meters, officials said Monday they may never know how much cash was stolen.
Police are looking into the thefts, village government is conducting its own investigation, and for at least the next three months, Central Parking System will handle collections because officials don't trust employees to do it.
But during Monday's board meeting, trustees addressed an uncomfortable fact -- the village doesn't know how much money was coming in from the meters in the first place. Because some 100 meters were broken, others were "offline" and it's not clear how long employees have allegedly been stealing from the meters, the revenue gap between current, supervised collections and the previous status quo can't be directly attributed to thefts.
"The problem is we dont even know what money was coming through the meters, so we can't even compare it," Trustee Sam Terenzi said.
"We don't even have a baseline," said Trustee John Branca.
Port Chester collects about $500,000 a year from 750 parking meters in its two square miles. This year, 250 meters will be retired as the village installs digital multimeters.
In a discussion between trustees and Village Manager Christopher Russo, officials declined to go into specifics about how much money may have been stolen. Russo told the board he'd provide more details in a private executive session.
Central Parking System will collect meter money, repair about 100 broken meters and recommend a collection process to the village. At the end of three months -- or four months, if the emergency contract is extended -- the board will decide whether to contract a company to collect meter money, or whether to keep the task in-house.
The investigation into thefts centers around two or three employees tasked with collecting money from the meters. The process was informal, there was no real bookkeeping, and the money was counted and bagged in a municipal garage without oversight. Last week, a police detective told the board some 40 meter canisters had their tops sawed off, and another 100 or so had locks that were "defeated or broken."
While they wait for the investigations, some board members are looking ahead. Trustee Luis Marino said he wouldn't support the emergency contract with Central Parking System -- which will cost the village $45,000 -- past the four month mark, and urged training "people we can trust" to take over collections four months from now.
Got a question? Something on your mind? Talk to your community, directly.
Just a short thought to get the word out quickly about anything in your neighborhood.
Share something with your neighbors.Write a new post...What do you want to share?Make an announcement, speak your mind, or sell somethingPost something