Hoboken council moves forward with increasing annual parking permit costs from $15 to $52

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The Hoboken City Council approved for the first reading of an ordinance that would raise residential parking permits from $15 to $52 annually at last night’s meeting.

There were several residents who voiced their concerns during the public portion of the meeting prior to the council’s vote on the matter.

Andrew Impastato, the creator of the Parking Dude app, said he doesn’t think raising the residential parking fee is a long-term solution for parking.

He argued that the reason why Mayor Ravi Bhalla’s administration is seeking an increase is to offset a “huge spending problem” at City Hall, given that early projections show a $7 million budget deficit this year that could lead to 80 layoffs of municipal employees.

Impastato proceeded to tell the story of being given a credit card by his father in his teenage years to pay for gas for his automobile.

He eventually ran up a $1,000 balance because he used the card to spend on additional items, prompting his father to take away the card – which Impastato noted that he had to work three jobs to pay off.

“So, we can’t say yes to this ordinance because what we are then doing is giving Mayor Bhalla and the administration a new credit card to go and spend,” began Impastato.

“The overall theme is pretty clear and it’s hard to deny—he’s trying to use parking to raise revenue to make up for his over spending, whether it’s the multiple political positions at City Hall that previous administrations didn’t have to use [or] whether it’s the hundreds of thousands in attorney fees that we’re spending on eminent domain and grabs of land for new parks.”

The council voted 6-2 to approve the first reading, with 4th Ward Councilman Ruben Ramos and 3rd Ward Councilman Michael Russo voting no, and 1st Ward Councilman Michael DeFusco absent for the meeting.

This morning, 2nd Ward Councilwoman Tiffanie Fisher, the chair of the council transportation and parking sub committee, explained to HCV why she decided to introduced the measure.

“This has been a long talked about policy change to better price parking in Hoboken. People have different views, but given the demand for parking and the ongoing operational and capital needs of the city I believe that there is a need for an increase,” she stated.

“At $1 per week, this is still significantly lower than all other alternatives in Hoboken which range between approximately $40 per week and $75 per week in area garages. Will it help generate revenues in a year of a budget deficit? Yes.”

Meanwhile, Ramos echoed Impastato’s remarks in an interview that the administration is seeking to raise revenue in order to plug a projected budget deficit.

“It doesn’t solve a problem … all we’re looking to do is plug a revenue gap with this, that’s all this is.

“There’s no situation where any of the rates that we’re voting on tonight is going to solve the parking problem, this is not a quality of life issue, it’s really just a money grab to try to enhance revenue to try to plug a budget gap right now,” said Ramos.

In a separate interview, Russo said that he voted no because he believes Hoboken residents are already overburdened by increases in rates for other services such as water usage and that the city shouldn’t be charging for parking in the first place.

He explained that the city has gone down the road before of wanting to increase parking permit fees for visitors driving into the city but that idea was eventually rejected by Hoboken residents.

He used to be in favor of raising rates on visitor permit fees, until his constituents told him otherwise.

“Now we’re asking to increase residential parking permits, so my assumption is that we don’t have an appetite for that either,” said Russo.

He noted there are a couple schools of thought when it comes to raising the residential parking rates. One is that if the city raises the fee it could lessen the number of automobiles driven by residents in the city.

Still, he thinks that idea is far-fetched because people will always have to depend on their cars regardless of the cost of the residential parking permit fee.

“I don’t think that we are going to reduce the number of cars in the city, at least significantly, there may be some, but it’s not going to be a significant reduction where there is going to be open parking across the city because our residential permit fee rose to $52.”

He reiterated that he’s always been in favor of no fees for residential parking permits because he believes that the taxes residents pay cover the expense.

“What’s next? Are we going to ask for an additional fee for garbage pickup or for any other services that we are providing? All these small increases as everyone likes to call them, they add up and they add up quickly, and we have to do something to combat that,” said Russo.

However, 5th Ward Councilman Phil Cohen believes that an increase in the fee is warranted because even at $52, it will cost Hoboken residents just one dollar per week to be able to park for the entire year.

And he doesn’t buy the argument that the administration is proposing an increase in order to plug a budget deficit.

“I completely disagree. Listen, it’s good politics to say that you are against raising fees. We should be governing smart, and giving away free parking in the city where parking is our most precious commodity makes no sense,” began Cohen.

“So to me, $52 per year is a conservative price, it’s a common sense thing to do and I think it should have been done a long time ago.”

10 COMMENTS

  1. Sadly we are going to be seeing many stories about rate and fee hikes like this in the near future. This administration has no clue on how to run a budget, obviously.

    • No kidding. Ravi Bhalla went on a spending spree fattening up the mayoral office to serve his political ambitions above and beyond Hoboken. He hired plenty of staff to insulate himself from doing the needed work of the city and goes off gallivanting to his fundraisers to fill up the piggy bank for his next job. He doesn’t care about Hoboken. He’s like Peter Cammarano.

  2. Back in 2007 or 2008 the City Council voted to raise the cost of a residential permit I think to $35. The increase was unanimously repealed at the next meeting after the complaining began, in an act of incredible political cowardice, and has not been revisited since. For context, the $15 fee is less than the cost of administering the system.

    Let’s hope our elected officials show some more courage this time.

  3. They need to bring back active 24 hour enforcement of parking violators in order to provide residents with valid permits more parking. Visitors know that Hoboken doesn’t enforce towing anymore and park all over the residents only and no parking zones. They also park after midnight and on holidays wherever they want without a permit, this completely diminishes the value of having a resident permit these people are gaming the system and winning.

    If they actively enforce and tow 24/7 violators and non residents then I would gladly pay the $50 resident fee.

  4. It’s not reasonable to increase from $15 to $52 in one year. Compromise-10-15% increase each year until $52 achieved. Then cost of living increase each year.

    I have verbalized to many Hoboken officials including the Parking Authority Director-you should follow Manhattan and have two day street cleaning. This will make people move their cars twice a week instead of once. Twice a week is a better deterrent to encourage people not to leave their cars parked all week on our city streets.

    And I agree with 24 hour parking enforcement.

  5. The market price to rent a spot in a garage is $250 / month ($3000 a year). Obviously street parking is worth a bit less than a garage space, but $15 / year is laughable. I have a garage spot and also have a resident parking pass just because they’re so cheap and once in a while I park somewhere other than my garage. At some price I would stop buying a pass and never use a street spot. At an even higher price some people would stop owning a car. If you want parking to be more available in Hoboken then you need to incentivize people to use less parking. It’s that simple.

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