January 10 2018

Use of Handicapped Parking Fine Funds Approved for Two Projects

By: Rich Hosford

The Burlington Board of Selectmen approved two expenses from the Handicapped Parking Fine Funds on behalf of the Disability Access Commission (DAC) during its meeting Monday night.

DAC co-chair Maura Mazzocca was at the meeting with member Alfredo Arno to request the use of funds. The money for the fund is provided by tickets and fines given to people who illegally park in handicap spots. Since the money is under the purview of the board it must approve all uses of the funds.


The first project was to install automatic doors at the Burlington Housing Authority building. Mazzocca said the group would like to request $9,500 to purchase the materials and pay for the installation.


“This will help residents gain access more easily,” she said.


The DAC members also requested that funds be released to pay for the upkeep and use of the town’s AutoMARK voting machine. The state pays for its use during state and federal elections but the town must cover the costs for town elections. The cost is $1,800 a year and the request was to cover the cost for the next three years.


Mazzocca, herself blind, said the voting machine, designed to assist people with disabilities and available for anyone to use at all elections, was a great asset.  


“If anyone has a disability or has a family member with a disability they can use it,” she said. “For me, it’s great, I can vote independently.”


Mazzocca said the machine leads people through the voting process with spoken directions and so is also great for people with dyslexia, those who cannot read or who are better at hearing English rather than reading it, and people who may not have full use of their hands.


Town Administrator John Petrin said these requests are made on a regular basis. He said he thought it was appropriate that funds collected by people illegally parking in handicap spots be used to improve access in town.


“We are trying to create an atmosphere where people are not violating handicap spots but if you do we are going to put the funds to good use,” he said.


The board voted 4-0-0 to support both fund requests.


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