The Price to Park

December 18, 2012 Updated Dec 18, 2012 at 12:20 AM EDT

By John Borsa

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December 18, 2012 Updated Dec 18, 2012 at 12:20 AM EDT

BUFFALO, NY (WKBW) - Donald Miller was certainly in the holiday mood on Saturday night when he and his wife went to the BPO's annual holiday concert at Kleinhans Music Hall in Allentown.

"It was wonderful. It was absolutely marvelous," said the Orchard Park resident.

A festive time, that is, until he walked back to his car and found it locked with a tire boot. A tow truck driver in the parking lot was willing to trade the key for some cash.

"When I asked them what we had to do to get our car free, we were told we had to pay $75 fine plus tax which came to $81.57 cash or credit card but they would prefer cash," he said.

The lot is owned by Elmwood Village Charter School on Days Park and is used for faculty and staff. Signs clearly warn drivers not to park in the lot or risk being booted or towed.

"Mind you, we only started enforcing this on November 15th," said the school's director, John Sheffield.

"Cars would be towed or booted if they couldn't be towed so that the snow plow contractor can get through and keep our lots clear," he added.

But as Miller points out, "There was no snow storm on the horizon and it was a Saturday night," which meant no class the next day.

Sheffield said the school does not receive any of the money collected by the tow company, which is Lightning Towing on Bailey Avenue. We called the company, which declined to comment.

"It just left a sour taste in everyone's mouth and people were angry. It was not a good scene," Miller said, adding that as many as 15 to 20 other concertgoers had their cars booted as well.

The school has instructed the towing company to no longer boot or tow cars until after 11:00 p.m., which should give people plenty of time to enjoy a concert at Kleinhans before getting booted.