By Katie Bisaro
New electric vehicle charging stations have been installed in the South St. Parking Lot and thus far have been available for use free of charge. Soon, this will change and a per-hour fee will be charged to connect to the stations.
The Village of Warwick Board of Trustees discussed connection fees for the new electric vehicle charging stations that have been installed in the Village as well as the fines for illegally parking in those spots.
Electric vehicles (EV) may only be parked in charging station spots while in the process of charging for up to three hours per charge. At the Mon., Nov. 2 Board of Trustees meeting, Trustee Barry Cheney outlined the parking fines for non-electric vehicles parked in charging spots as well as for electric vehicles that are parked in charging spots but are not in the process of charging or have charged completely and are still in the designated spot.
There will be a $100 fine for parking a non-electric vehicle in an EV charging spot. A $50 fine will be assessed for an electrical vehicle parked in the charging spot while not in the process of charging (including if the vehicle was in the spot for charging and has completed the process). There will be a fine for an EV parked in a charging spot for longer than three hours regardless of whether it has finished charging or not.
A new category for the Village Fee Schedule will be also created to cover the “connection fee” for those vehicles that hook up to the charging stations.
At previous meetings, the Board of Trustees discussed the connection fee at length, debating the amount to be charged that would be economical for the owner as well as an incentive for the use of electric vehicles, against the need to cover the costs incurred by the Village to provide the charging stations to the public.
“Our goal in obtaining the charging stations is to encourage the use of electric vehicles, to move to alternative fuels, and having these stations in the Village is a benefit to residents and also to visitors,” Cheney said regarding his reason for proposing $1.25/hour as a connection fee. He is concerned that a higher rate would discourage use of the charging stations. He would rather incrementally increase the rates over time, as it is difficult to know the right price point until usage under a fee structure is known. The consensus from prior discussions on the matter was to charge $1.75/hr.
The cost to the Village to operate and maintain the charging stations, according to information given by Trustee Cheney back in May, is approximately $2,700 per year. A connection fee of $1.25 per hour would net around $2,100 for the Village based on historical usage of the charging stations. At $1.75/hour, the Village would net almost $3,000. For the electric vehicle owner, three hours of charging time would cost $3.75 at the lower rate, $5.25 at the higher rate.
Trustee George McManus has maintained since the discussions in May that it is not the Village’s responsibility to provide free charging for electric vehicles and the rates should cover the cost to the Village to operate and maintain the equipment.
“I don’t see how we can financially, fiscally be responsible [by not covering the cost to the Village]…we don’t subsidize everybody else’s vehicle use by paying for gasoline so we should not be subsidizing electric vehicles by paying for their [connection fee],” McManus stated.
Mayor Michael Newhard concurred that the Village should cover its costs, pointing out that electric vehicles are no longer a “novelty” and the connection fee of $1.75 is still a “deal.”
In the end, the Board maintained the consensus to charge $1.75 per hour as the connection fee for the electric vehicle charging stations. The new fee will not go into effect immediately in order to allow the Village to provide ample notification to users prior to the change.
Fines for Illegal Handicap Parking Raised
The Village of Warwick will be raising the fines for those who illegally park in parking spaces designated for handicap access. The current fine for parking in a spot without a properly designated tag is $100. The fine will be increased to $250 per violation.
Trustee Bill Lindberg researched, as a comparison, the fines assessed in other communities in the County. The Village of Greenwood Lake can fine up to $250; the city of Middletown fine is a minimum of $100 up to $250; and the city of Newburgh also has a $100 fine.
Free Parking During Holidays
At the request of the Warwick Valley Chamber of Commerce, the Village Board approved a motion implementing free parking in the Village from Sun., Nov. 22 until Fri., Jan. 1 for the holiday shopping season. The Chamber will also be allowed to decorate the meters, coordinating with the Department of Public Works.
Main St. Dining Ends
Last month the Village Board agreed to apply for permission from the New York State Department of Transportation to extend the Covid-19 Recovery Special Use Permit that closed Main St. to vehicular traffic on weekend evenings to allow restaurants to have outdoor dining, expanding their capacity. The NYS DOT denied the Village’s request for the extension as it is now into plowing season and the need to keep Main St./Rte. 94, a state road, clear in the event of inclement weather.
The next meeting of the Village of Warwick Board of Trustees will be held on Mon., Nov. 16 at 7:30 p.m. The meeting will be held via Zoom and will be available on Facebook Live via the Village’s Facebook page. For more information, visit www.villageofwarwick.org.
The Village of Warwick will soon begin charging a connection fee of $1.75 per hour for up to three hours for use of the electric vehicle charging stations that are available in the South St. Parking Lot.