Parking power play in Syracuse pits Mahoney against Comptroller

A month after criticizing a parking contract between Onondaga County and the owners of the Galleries project in downtown Syracuse, County Comptroller Bob Antonacci says he's exposed taxpayer waste in a separate parking deal.

Antonacci made public a letter calling upon County Executive Joanie Mahoney to cancel a 2009 contract with GML Parking LLC, which owns the Hotel Syracuse Parking Garage on Harrison Street. That contract allows 282 county employees to park in the garage at a taxpayer cost of $50 per month per spot. Antonacci says those employees can park their cars at the taxpayer-owned Oncenter garage at a rate of $30 per month, which would save taxpayers $63,600 per year.

Antonacci's letter comes a month after he criticized Mahoney for making a deal with the Galleries that would allow private company employees to park at the Oncenter for $30 per month. He thought the rate was too low. Antonacci's letter says, "It is apparent a major employer rate of approximately $30 has been established for parking garages downtown." Antonacci says county workers should be moved from the Hotel Syracuse garage into the Oncenter garage to save taxpayers money.

Contacted by phone, County Executive Joanie Mahoney told CNY Central's Jim Kenyon, "Bob has a few things mixed up... it's not quite as simple as he thinks it is."

Mahoney pointed out that the deal with the Galleries calls for employees to park in the Oncenter's open lot and not the garage.

As for the contract with the Hotel Syracuse garage, Mahoney said, "That was the best deal in town at the time."

Mahoney added that she is taking Antonacci's suggestion into consideration. "We will always look for the best deal when the contract expires," says Mahoney.