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Parking fees for boaters at the 79th St. basin are $422 cheaper per month than rates at a nearby garage

The New York Times reports that the comptroller's office is concerned about possible fraud at the Parks Department's 79th Street Boat Basin. Buried in the piece is the small revelation that the Parks Department offers off-street car parking at far below market rates to boaters moored there.

According to the Times, 23 residents paid $66,250 for parking their cars at the basin in 2005 -- an annual average cost of $2,880, or $240 a month. A block away, at 70 Riverside Drive, a private garage charges $662 a month.

Do the math and you find the city is charging $422 less a month per car than the nearby private garage. Multiply by 23 motorists, and you find a subsidy costing tax payers $116,472 a year in foregone revenue. Admittedly it is decimal dust in a $58 billion city budget. But it's another example of how the money-strapped city is contradicting its own green goals, and short-changing tax payers by giving away public space for parking at low, low prices. Maybe that's the real fraud.

Photo: Cresny/Flickr 

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