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Cost of parking could increase in Hoboken

City officials gave Councilman Peter Cunningham a key to the city honoring his 12 years of public service. (Photo by Jerry Lore)

The Hoboken City Council will vote on three ordinances next month that could increase the fees associated with owning a car within the mile-square city.

The ordinances were introduced at the Jan. 15 council meeting.

During the meeting, the council also unanimously approved a resolution calling on the U.S. Congress to reunify migrant families, release them from detention, and give them due process in immigration proceedings

Hoboken officials also presented former Fifth Ward Councilman Peter Cunningham with the key to the city, honoring him for his 12 years of public service.

“He was true to his constituents and always on top of things and always on top of us on behalf of his constituents,” said Director of Health and Human Services Leo Pellegrini, who presented Cunningham with the key. Pellegrini said Mayor Ravi Bhalla was unable to attend.

Council President Jen Giattino said Cunningham had been a guide to her on the council, particularly as chair of the council’s Revenue and Finance Committee.

“He did wonders for the City of Hoboken, and he will be sorely missed,” Giattino said.

Cunningham was first elected in 2007 during a period of reform, and said he was most proud of his time as council president in 2009, beginning the city’s financial and economic reform.

He said he believed his experience in public finance and in local government markets was critical at a time when the city struggled with the municipal budget.

He left office on Dec. 31 after he announced he would not seek reelection the previous July, noting 12 years was a “good long time to serve on the City Council,” and he wanted to devote more time to his professional life and family.

He said the job of a councilperson is that of constituent services and policy, not politics.

“My goal was to institutionalize good governance and best practices, and I am really proud that we were able to accomplish that,” he said.

He thanked his family for their support and understanding during his years on the board, noting the amount of time it took away from his family.

Increased parking fees

The first ordinance voted on would increase the penalties associated with various parking violations by at least $5.

The violations include permit parking only, which would increase from a $68 ticket to a $73 ticket, an overtime meter which would increase from $30 to $35, no parking in a loading zone which would increase from $45 to $55, and no parking in a school zone which would increase from $30 to $40.

The second ordinance would increase the price of a residential parking permit from $15 to $52 a year.

“City Council of the City of Hoboken acknowledges the significant demand for and scarcity of street parking and wishes to increase the price of residential permits to help offset rising operational, labor and improvement costs of the Hoboken Parking Utility and City of Hoboken,” the ordinance states.

Hoboken parking rates have not changed in more than 15 years, according to the ordinance.

Currently, residents with only one car pay $15 a year for a residential parking permit. For a second car at the same address, a parking permit costs $30 per year. A permit for a third car at the same address costs $90 a year.

Should the ordinance be adopted on second reading, a permit for one car would be $52 a year $104 for a second car, and $208 for a third car.

According to the ordinance, there are an estimated 13,900 cars with residential parking permits, of which approximately 300 are for a third car at an address.

The third ordinance would increase the tow-release processing fee should a vehicle be towed.

This fee would increase from $25 to $30.

Several members of the public spoke against the ordinances.

Andrew Impastato who runs Parking Dude said the city was raising the rates only to help plug the city’s budget deficit, noting that there have been ongoing issues with parking in the city that need to be addressed, like the visitors unable to come to the city to go to local businesses because they can’t find parking.

Resident Rose Markel said the increased fee for a residential parking permit was “absurd,” calling it another tax on residents.

On the other hand, resident Alex Garcia said he was okay with the increase but thought it was a bit high, suggesting $45 or $40 instead.

“If you can’t afford $40 a year, then you shouldn’t have a car,” he said.

The council introduced these ordinances with a 6-2-1 vote. Councilmen Ruben Ramos and Michael Russo voted against their introduction. Councilman Michael DeFusco was absent.

Resolution adopted

Council members Phil Cohen and Emily Jabbour sponsored a resolution urging congress to reunify migrant families, release them from detention, and give them due process in immigration proceedings.

The resolution condemns the inhumane treatment of migrants at the country’s borders and in the interior of the country and affirms that all men, women, and children who come to the nation’s borders have a right to due process and to the full and fair opportunity to seek protection in the United States.

It calls on Hoboken’s congressional representatives Rep. Albio Sires and U.S. Senators Bob Menendez and Cory Booker to call for an end to immigration detention in the United States, the immediate reunification of migrant families and the release of migrant children and parents from detention.

It also urges the state and all New Jersey counties to protect the rights and safety of detained migrants, allow for civilian oversight of immigration detention centers, and fund a universal legal services program that guarantees every indigent migrant in detention access to quality legal representation.

Hudson County made progress on some of these initiatives when it created a Correctional Advisory Board and a Grievance Appeal Board at the Hudson County Correctional Center and hired a detainee advocate.

Several members of the public spoke in favor of the resolution, including residents, members of the ACLU, and Hoboken’s Democratic Committee.

Rachel Hodes, chair of the Hoboken Democratic Committee, said the committee feels the U.S. federal policy on immigration is “antithetical” to the country’s values and principals, and the treatment of immigrants has been “inhumane, unlawful, and disgraceful.”

She said personally that by adopting the resolution, the council was “showing residents, neighbors, and families that Hoboken doesn’t stand for policies like this.”

For updates on this and other stories check www.hudsonreporter.com and follow us on Twitter @hudson_reporter. Marilyn Baer can be reached at Marilynb@hudsonreporter.com.


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