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Cameras Could Replace Ticket Machines in Village Lots

Village officials researching technology that would track if a car has been parked in lot for too long and mail owner a ticket.

In an effort to cut costs and perfect the parking system in municipal lots, the East Hampton Village Board is considering using video to track the amount of time cars park in the lots and distribute tickets to those who stay too long.

The village police department is looking into the technology of live stream video camera system with character recognition for reading the license plates of cars that enter and exit. The system can recognize when that same license plates leaves the lot, logging the amount of time it has been there. If it was parked for more than the amount allowed, the system can generate a parking summons that is then mailed to the car owner.

Right now, the village uses a machine that dispense a time-stamped ticket for drivers to display on their dashboards in the Robert G. Reutershan and Barnes Schenck municipal parking lots. Police officers and traffic control officers on patrol can then tell how long the car has been parked in the lot. If it's more than two hours, the driver is written a summons.

Police Chief Jerry Larsen and Lt. Tony Long have been working SecureWatch 24, a New York City-based security company to find ways to perform its duties more effectively. Long said reading the time-stamped tickets is "man-power intensive" and requires the help of traffic control officers. The machines also break down and run out of tickets during the summer.

Ritz Dreyer, a services leader with the firm, said the system is similar to the system that sends out tickets to drivers who run red lights, although those cameras take pictures. This system the village is considering streams video and registers license plates, just as the license plate readers mounted on village police vehicles, which identifies cars that have suspended registrations among other things. That technology has been used in the village for over three years.

No municipality this far east on Long Island using such an advanced system, according to Dreyer. His company has installed similar cameras in Rockville Centre, though those were for security issues.

Dreyer appeared briefly before the village board on Friday to broach the subject. He and Tomasz Scilsowski, a manager with SW24, were meeting with Trustee Rick Lawler, who is the liaision to the police department, Friday afternoon. 

Long said there are a lot of decisions to be made before the system is put into use, such as how long the board wants to allow drivers to park. The board could even decide that it wants to cap the amount of time a single car is allowed to park per day. As of now, a driver could park for the maximum two hours, leave and come back later and park for another two hours.

The department would like to try out the cameras during a pilot program in July and August, while also using the TCOs, and analyze which is more cost effective, Long said.

"I think we're putting the cart before the horse," Mayor Paul F. Rickenbach Jr. said. He wants the department to codify the product and come back to the board with a full presentation. He noted the need to improve the parking system. "We'd certainly like to make it better than it is."

Village Administrator Larry Cantwell said all department heads have been asked to look at ways to cut down on overtime costs. In fact, the department of public works found it could save $10,000 to $15,000 by contracting with a private company to clean the Herrick Park bathrooms on the weekends instead of paying village employees to come in on the weekends. The board approved a resolution to pay Class Act Maintenance $38.75 per day on off-season weekends and $77.50 for twice-a-day cleaning on weekends between June 30 and Sept. 3.

Taylor K. Vecsey (Editor) February 17, 2012 at 07:42 PM
Via Patch's Facebook page: Jameson Jacob: Invasion of privacy. The village needs to slow it wayyyyy down.
Stacey Grisch February 17, 2012 at 09:45 PM
I think the village is out of control. It is not tourist friendly at all. Two hour parking in back and one hour on street. YOu can't do anything in this village in that time frame. NOt business friendly either. They just can't wait to ticket everyone that visits East Hampton - I think it is sad. Other villages aren't like this.
todd February 17, 2012 at 09:53 PM
better idea.. entice pathetic Waldbaum's to exit downtown where it shouldn't be in 2012 and use part for parking lot and part for small shops that have products locals can buy. Can you imagine how much better traffic/parking would be w/o Waldbaum's?
Emily Bee February 17, 2012 at 10:05 PM
I agree. There is a back up problem with cars exiting into the Reutershan tot from the Waldbaum parking lot. I don't know why the supermarket is still there in this day and age. Worked in the 1960's. Nowadays it's a joke.
Taylor K. Vecsey (Editor) February 17, 2012 at 10:29 PM
Question is -- would you be for this camera system if it saved the village money?
Bruce February 18, 2012 at 12:00 AM
There is really no way the proposed system could save the village money. I suspect the true purposes of the devices would be more in line as intelligence gathering tools for law enforcement, which is ok, providing it's not "abused", as opposed to a revenue generator. The article does not state who is going to run the system. Is this Secure24 company going to pay the up front costs and run the system,including mailing out the summonses in exchange for say a 50-50 cut of the revenue with the village? One of the lesser kept secrets is the amount of seasonal revenue the village gains from parking summonses, both beaches and lots. Well over 10 years ago it was a quarter of a million a season. Today, I would guesstimate closer to half a mil. If the PD hires 12 or 15 seasonal traffic enforcement people and pays them say, a hundred dollars a day, and these same people write 10 or 15 of those average $75. 00 parking summonses a day, you do the math. Nice profit. More information would have to forth coming to accurately answer your question. Without a doubt the devices would be superior to a human being doing the same job. Thats probably why the PD wants to run a trial session. To see whether it would really be cost effective.
todd February 18, 2012 at 12:07 AM
Hi Taylor.. how about starting a thread about supermarket exiting downtown and thoughts on what can replace it.
Taylor K. Vecsey (Editor) February 18, 2012 at 12:28 AM
Hey, Bruce. This was all the information available today. Like the article said, a formal presentation had not been prepared for the board. The village is in the early stages of gathering information. We'll bring you more information once we get it.
Audrey Stonemetz February 18, 2012 at 12:42 AM
I agree with Tdd !, love the thought! Move from Village Pantigo is the place!
Taylor K. Vecsey (Editor) February 18, 2012 at 01:06 AM
Todd, here you go: http://patch.com/A-qWWm
Taylor K. Vecsey (Editor) February 18, 2012 at 01:27 AM
Other answers from Facebook: Kate Mueth: My God, don't they have some real crime to deal with? Welcome Big Brother.... Greg Maltry: anything to keep from doing an honest days work--- new cameras going up all around america everyday they use all kinds of fake excuses to get them put up and have people think it's not so bad, but someday probably not to far in the future americans won't be able to even step outside their front doors without being watched Eileen Roaman: so cozy, like Islip Joyce Bennett Klein: more jobs gone Daniel Demai: Sounds like trouble , one glitch and your getting tickets every other day Dawn Cray: BIG BROTHER has run out of things to do.... no thank you....
Bonac Bub February 18, 2012 at 02:46 AM
Village PD do love their toys. They get every thing they want. This is a little much though. I think they have a little too much money and too much time on their hands coming up with this. I would rather have a parking garage back there than this. Next year will be an unmanned reconnaissance drone. Come on Village Board, say no for once.
MARTIN DREW February 18, 2012 at 12:49 PM
So much for promoting a welcomed shopping experience . Maybe they need to extend the time allowed? It's life deal with it; we've become a popular place .
Walter Smith February 18, 2012 at 02:14 PM
Easthampton Village has changed, and for the worse. We sold our home in Amagansett some years ago when we noticed the hiring of Brown Shirts to march up and down the streets looking for parked cars with expired inspection stickers. There is a real sense of unease there now during the summer season with so many uniformed part time hires standing at regular intervals, chalk and ticket pad at the ready, to pounce on the tardy. I can't imagine anyone going there anymore to relax.
bonacbabe February 18, 2012 at 03:44 PM
I agree with Walter. We moved away in 81 and never looked back except with relief. No more seeing a cop behind every tree. No more rules and regulations to follow. Our hometown no longer exists I',m sorry to say, but at least we still have our fond memories of what it used to be. It was the best place to grow up in back in the 40's and 50's.
Lin B February 18, 2012 at 07:30 PM
You are right, Bonac Babe. No more Marley's, no more Baker & Lester Hardware, no more Village Restaurant on Newtown Lane, no more no more no more.
Audrey Stonemetz February 19, 2012 at 02:31 AM
We have such a short time to live with a parking problems! Camera's are going to drive away what few residents we have left here we will all go else where to shop not that there is any place in the Village we can shop! It will also drive away our tourists which we desperatly need here to make our town and village function! We are not NYC that have millions of people all of the time on the streets! There would be jobs displaced in which the young men and woman need to survive as well ! Lets Think about creating more jobs for the tco's and have friendly faces on the street that will add to our once wonderful community!
Walter Noller February 20, 2012 at 12:34 PM
It's greed. It's just another tax, plain and simple. Instead of dealing with the fact there are more people and that effects the amount of spaces available for them to park, towns decide to enforce instead of fix, thereby creating a cottage industry of making money via parking infractions. This takes away from real peace officer responsibility and then creates the need for part time help (TCO's) during summer season. But the illness of money making takes over and ideas such as this take place even taking the TCO job and throwing it out for what? Making money (again, read it as a tax). I challenge town to actually "FIX" the problem by creating parking commensurate with the growth of the town, both full time and seasonal. Get a shuttle service to and from a parking area if that's what it takes. I'm sure others would agree to pay a small amount for such a service than pay a fine or metered parking. It would create jobs with positive impact instead of the negative of parking police and show a sense of respect to the tax payers who support the town.
Lynne Scanlon February 20, 2012 at 01:53 PM
What a terrible idea. Terrible. Surely we can save money in other ways, like not paying up to or even more than $1250 to clean TWO bathrooms over the weekend. ("In fact, the department of public works found it could save $10,000 to $15,000 by contracting with a private company to clean the Herrick Park bathrooms on the weekends instead of paying village employees to come in on the weekends.") For that kind of money we should have had full-time attendants and gotten our shoes polished while we washed our hands.
Kiara Hartwell March 01, 2012 at 05:21 PM
This is insane. Summer, possibly just because there is always a hassle trying to park and get around, but out of season would be ridiculous! All in all, it would be more of a waste of money.
arlin gieschen April 20, 2012 at 08:15 PM
The largest share of complaints in the use of license plate recognition concerns the original cost of implementation. A biometric facial recognition system, which has a proven higher accuracy rate than LPR and an original installation cost of less than 1/2 the cost of LPR would seem the logical answer.

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