Three members of the Derby Board of Aldermen said the city needs to revisit its management of the parking garage on Thompson Place.
Carmen DiCenso, Barbara DeGennaro, and Ron Sill raised questions about the management of the 300-space facility during a meeting Jan. 26.
Mayor Anita Dugatto’s office took over management of the parking garage in 2015, after the Aldermen dissolved the city’s appointed parking authority and made it a division within city government.
The idea was to save money and to try to bring stability to the garage’s operation.
Carmen DiCenso, president of Board of Aldermen, said it’s time to explore whether to hire a part-time accountant or bookkeeper.
Apparently too much of the responsibilities are falling to Patty Finn, who works in the mayor’s office and is already wearing many hats, according to statements made at the Aldermen meeting.
“I went up there and on the floor there were like 30 or 40 bags of coins. Those have to go to the bank,” DiCenso said.
Employees of a number of local businesses and government agencies park in the garage every day. But DiCenso said contracts with those customers are missing.
The article continues after the embedded audio. Press play to listen to the conversation.
“I think somewhere down the line we should get Patty a little bit of help as far as bookkeeping goes for the parking garage,” DiCenso said.
Mayor Anita Dugatto said she is planning to move some parking division responsibilities — collection, specifically — to the tax collector’s office.
It’s part of a strategic plan Derby is working on to make City Hall more efficient.
“It will be part of the unveiling of our new strategic plan for City Hall,” Dugatto said. “So that is being worked on.”
First Ward Alderwoman Barbara DeGennaro said the city needs to move more quickly to address the issues within its parking division.
“Where are the contracts that have been in existence? I mean, there are a lot of businesses that (have) parked there for years,” she said.
Second Ward Alderman Sill indicated someone may have walked off with the contracts.
“I think evidently some were removed from that office, because we searched,” he said. “Carmen and I went through the file cabinets, everywhere. Whatever happened with previous people there . . . the records are gone.”
Sill said the city now has to take time to establish new records.
“We just can’t keep letting it go,” Sill said.
Sill said the city is probably saving some $35,000 by not having a parking authority director like they had previously.
“If we can get a part-time person in there and not even spend half that, a quarter of that, to just move these monies and get these records, I think we should just move on that,” Sill said.
Dugatto said groups that park in the garage have been making payments, so there is revenue coming in.
But Sill said “some” customers are paying, saying the word “some” twice.
“We know for a fact a couple of people are asking us, ‘I haven’t paid in a year or two, what do I do?’,” Sill said.
Third Ward Alderman Anthony Staffieri, the city’s previous mayor, said any money lying around needs to be counted and taken to the bank.
Dugatto noted the money is under lock and key.
“There have have been deposits made . . . it’s just today, it’s where we are,” Dugatto said.
Click the play button above to listen to the entire conversation about the parking division.
The Derby parking garage needs extensive repairs. The parking authority was preparing for a possible referendum to make repairs a few years back, but the question never made it to the ballot.
Dugatto has been searching for private investment or grant money to make repairs.