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Report: Onondaga County paying too much for parking

Are Onondaga County taxpayers paying more than they should for parking? Comptroller Bob Antonacci says they are and he wants county officials to take a look at two downtown contracts in particular.
Syracuse (WSYR-TV) -- Are Onondaga County taxpayers paying more than they should for parking? Comptroller Bob Antonacci says they are and he wants county officials to take a look at two downtown contracts in particular.

You and I may just see an empty space to park for the day, but others see parking spaces as valuable tools in luring or keeping businesses downtown. The county’s managing partner for the Oncenter, SMG, has cut a deal for $30 per month, per spot for some private businesses to use their facilities. Nearby, at the Hotel Syracuse garage, the county is paying a private company $50 per month, per spot for nearly 300 spaces.

“Pick a number, pick a number. If $30 is the going rate in downtown Syracuse for long term parking for big time employers, which Onondaga County is, we have 282 under contract at the Hotel Syracuse, those 282 spots should move over to the Oncenter,” Antonacci said.

But County Legislature Chair Ryan McMahon says it’s not as easy as just moving the county employees from the Hotel Syracuse garage to the Oncenter garage, especially if it means breaking a contract.

"If we have the capacity at the Oncenter, I'm sure SMG, we can talk to them about bringing some of our people over there at a cheaper rate. That saves us money. I think it’s a great idea. At the same time, I don't know if we'll be able to get, with the capacity issues, everyone to do it,” McMahon said.

McMahon says even if they move they would still want to leave some spots open to use as an incentive for businesses to operate downtown. Antonacci says the county could save $60,000 a year by moving county workers.

County Executive Joanie Mahoney says the workers parking at the Hotel Syracuse garage are a small subset of county employees, who, as part of their job, are coming and going during the day. The county is contracted to pay their parking. Mahoney says when that license expires, the county will look around for the best deal, like it did when deciding on the Hotel Syracuse garage in the first place.
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