It’s that “Parking Tax” time again. Dec. 31, is the deadline to pay for your “Parking Permit.” No matter how you package it or name it, it’s nothing more than a “Parking Tax”. When I spoke to the head of the parking authority he just could not admit that the fee is a “tax” by telling me all about what the authority does; but then I reminded him how I haven’t seen one iota of improvement in parking; and again he kept telling me how “certain” sections of North Bergen have seen improved parking. Well, I don’t know about that as far as where I live in uptown North Bergen by the park. And then he followed up his conversation with, “but it’s only $15 per car.” So that’s supposed to justify it, $15 per car in a two-car household is $30, and if you happen to be a senior or anyone living on a fixed income, the $30 is no different than a tax. It’s coming right out of your income – which for many of us is “fixed”. I’ve been living in North Bergen for over 30 years. I have to be honest in saying that parking was better when we didn’t have a parking authority. I could remember back in the 80s when I came home after 7 or 8 pm, I never had to drive around the block for more than 5 minutes. Today, with the advent of the “Parking Authority” there are many times I have to drive around for 30 minutes or so to park blocks away.
So how has the parking authority helped the parking situation for all sections of North Bergen – not just a few or what are expedient. If you ask me, parking is worse now than ever before. So what are we paying this “parking tax” for? When I see the parking authority cars driving around the neighborhood I’m reminded of the time before the authority didn’t exist; and then I do some math and start adding up the cost of these cars around town, and the staff that’s hired to drive them, officiate the office, write out the tickets and do all the leg work -- I’m immediately struck with “why we have to pay a ‘Parking Tax’”. Primarily, because the authority has no funding from city hall (which is funded by our local taxes), someone has to pay for all those jobs in the “Parking Authority” – for all those jobs held by city hall’s brothers, sisters, cousins, aunts, uncles and other patronizing friends of North Bergen. So, instead of the “tax” coming from NB City Hall, it comes directly from our pockets.