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CURLEY TRIES REVERSE PSYCHOLOGY

Jammed up by a Democratic majority at odds with his demand for a reduction in the $38 overtime parking fine, Councilman John Curley last night offered a compromise plan, and then agreed to wait and see about its feasibilty.

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Curley asked the council to consider a six-month ramping up of meter enforcement at the present fine rate to include the hours between 4p and 8p six days a week — hours, apparently, when the meter patrol is off-duty, despite signs all over town suggesting otherwise.

“If nothing else, I’m sure it will give us additional revenues,” said Curley.

Curley appeared to acknowledge that a call for more comprehensive enforcement seemed an odd stance for someone who has argued for months that the fines are too high, driving away shoppers and angering downtown merchants. But that’s still the aim, Curley said.

“My goal is to reduce the fines,” he said.

But Democrats, led by finance committee chairman Michael DuPont, have contended that reducing the fines to $25, as Curley had previously proposed, would create a $188,000 budget hole that borough taxpayers would have to fill.

No hard cost estimates appear to have been made, though, on how much revenue might be generated by late afternoon and evening enforcement, and how much that revenue might cost in patrol overtime.

Curley’s latest twist, however, was derailed when Mayor Pasquale Menna suggested that the council first get a preliminary bead on total budget numbers in conjunction with a March 6 public session of the finance committee.

“I think it makes sense to put it all on the table at once,” Menna said.

“I think that’s very reasonable,” said Curley.

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