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Jersey City Council adopts new parklet fees, salary transparency ordinances

The Jersey City Council at their March 23 meeting. Photo by Mark Koosau.

The Jersey City Council has adopted ordinances for restaurant parklet fees and to require employers to disclose salaries for job positions, while also considering a $131 million bond ordinance for construction projects and a measure to make it easier for military veterans to apply for public safety jobs.

Parklet fees and salary transparency

The council unanimously adopted an ordinance (with Councilman Daniel Rivera absent from the March 23 meeting) to implement a new fee structure for parklets that was expanded upon during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The fees are meant to cover the cost of utilizing space on the street and offset the loss of parking revenue and overnight parking space that would be available if the space were to remain a typical parking space.

Under the new structure, an eight-month parklet fee from March 15 to Nov. 30 will cost $1,917, while a full year fee up until March 14 of next year will cost $2,682. There are also additional fees of at least $1,348-$1,576 for sidewalk cafe licenses, and inspections and reviews for permits.

The initial fees for parklets were proposed to be $3,650 for eight months and $7,300 for a full year, but they were reduced after concerns were brought up that the prices were too high.

Resident Jeanne Daly had asked if there can be a proof of usage for parklets, noting that she saw a number of them not being used during the wintertime and had garbage and storage in them.

“I know some people don’t like that argument, but the fact is that it does not help the community because when you have all the snow that needs to be pushed to a corner or something, these parklets are taking them up,” she said. “If they’re not being used, they should not be permitted.”

The council then unanimously adopted an ordinance that will require employers in Jersey City that employ more than four people to post their minimum and maximum salaries and/or their hourly wages for a job position.

The ordinance is meant to help women and minorities ensure that they’re paid equally. According to research by the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics and Pew Research Center, women earn about 82 to 84 percent of what men earn. The ordinance follows similar moves that were done recently by New York City, as well as Colorado.

Violations to the ordinance can be reported to the city’s Office of Code Compliance or the recently created Women’s Advisory Board, though it is unknown how violators would be disciplined.

Shannon Dwyer, an intern for Councilman Yousef Saleh who worked on research for the ordinance, said that it will help eliminate the gender pay gap.

“With your affirmative vote, you too are creating history adding a chapter to the story of equality and equity for women in the workplace.”

Other legislation

An ordinance introduced unanimously would make it easier for military veterans to apply for the city’s police or fire departments, by only requiring them to have lived in Jersey City for one year instead of two before the date of their qualifying exam.

Another ordinance introduced unanimously would also bond $131 million for a number of construction projects throughout the city. Notable spending items include $25 million for the Loew’s Theatre renovations, a combined $24 million for the city’s north and south police offices, and $5 million for renovations at City Hall.

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