PORT CHESTER, N.Y. (CBS 2) — Did someone get their paws on the parking meter money?
On Friday a Westchester County town was investigating whether the “missing money” totals in the thousands — or maybe even in the millions!
As CBS 2’s Tony Aiello reports, the parking meter scandal is the talk of Port Chester.
“A lot of people are mad, yes. Everybody’s talking about it,” resident Raymond Rodriguez said.
Everybody, that is, but the guys from the Department of Public Works, who dismissed CBS 2 pretty quickly on Friday.
“Don’t even talk to us! No comment!” one official said.
The DPW is at the center of an investigation into an apparent scheme to skim parking meter money.
“It’s disgusting, that somebody could do that. And if they live in the town and they work in the town, it’s a shame, it really is,” resident Anthony Salvatore said.
For year the DPW collected meter money, counted it at the garage and then brought it over to Village Hall. It’s not clear why village officials grew suspicious, but they did, and took action.
Port Chester fired its own DPW from collecting meter money and hired an outside firm to do the job. The difference was immediate, and dramatic.
The village said the DPW collected about $10,000 a week in meter money last year. Since the private firm took over the weekly collection has soared to almost $18,000.
That raises the possibility the village was being ripped off $5,000 to $7,000 a week.
“If they did it for three years, you’re talking a million dollars!” Salvatore said.
“Yes, absolutely, it could go to some of the kids programs,” resident Nicole Jones said of the missing funds.
Police said security was compromised on 140 of the village’s 750 meters, and that recordkeeping was virtually non-existent, creating a roadblock for the investigation.
“Angry. Everybody’s angry about it,” resident Rodriguez said.
Meter money now is being counted in a secure room at Village Hall.
Everyone hopes time has expired on what appears to be an expensive scam.
CBS 2 has learned the Westchester County district attorney’s “Public Integrity Bureau” has joined the investigation.