During the public portion of yesterday’s Hoboken City Council meeting, one resident implored officials to raise residential parking fees, not only to increase revenue for the city, but to create more parking spaces.
The resident, Fund for a Better Waterfront President James Vance, walked up to the microphone to emphatically say that the city has a major parking problem, specifically “giving away parking stickers.”
“We have a parking problem, we have all these problems, including giving away parking stickers at $15 per year. Those parking spaces out there are commodities. If you want to park in a parking garage, you have to pay for it. But instead we’re giving them away,” Vance told the council.
“If we were to raise parking sticker prices to, say, $300 per year, that would be more than $1 million in income and, more importantly, it would reduce the demand for parking spaces.”
Some members of the audience rapturously clapped and applauded after hearing the idea that the city should substantially raise parking sticker fees from $15 to $300 per year.
But not everyone on the City Council was receptive to the idea.
3rd Ward Councilman Michael Russo said that he wanted to go on record that he adamantly opposes the idea of raising prices for yet another service and increasing the financial burden on Hoboken residents, and even believes it should be free.
“I’ve put it on record many times. I absolutely disagree with the last speaker. I think the parking permit in the city of Hoboken should be absolutely free. We pay enough in taxes,” Russo exclaimed.
“And as the previous speaker said, specifically, the streets belong to all of us. So why should it be that only those who decide to park on the street, would pay for those streets? I think they should be free, and incorporated into the tax code.”
But before Russo could finish speaking, Council Vice President Peter Cunningham was quick to reinforce Vance’s argument that the city has a serious parking problem and should be raising residential parking permit fees substantially.
“I’m actually very much in favor of a very large increase in the cost of a residential parking sticker. At $15 per sticker [when] we have a parking problem in this town and not everybody that owns in Hoboken pays taxes. There are a lot of people in Hoboken coming and going and [only] renting,” said Cunningham.
He then mentioned that the City hired a consultant for the sole purpose of trying to figure out how to improve parking spaces in the city, noting that the consultant said it was “ridiculous” that the city is only charging $15 for parking stickers.
In response, Council President Jen Giattino said that Cunningham was being too kind in paraphrasing the consultant’s words.
The council did not take any formal action on the matter at last night’s meeting.