By David Cruz
Jersey City Mayor Steve Fulop says he knows not everyone is going to love the idea of dissolving the Parking Authority, but he says he’s following through on a campaign promise to dissolve all the city’s autonomous agencies. He says the Parking Authority is just the first one to go.
“These autonomous agencies have historically been cesspools of patronage and politics,” said Fulop. “This will give more accountability, more transparency and save money. So it’s a win, win, win.”
Under the mayor’s plan, which will require approval from the City Council tomorrow, the director, who makes over $100,000, and most of upper management will be let go, but no enforcement personnel will be laid off.
The mayor says dissolving the authority will save close to $1 million a year and generate potentially millions more by expanding enforcement to 24 hours a day.
“They make enough money now,” snapped long-time resident Julius Baldwin. “They’ll survive. That’s all BS. That’s political.”
Joey Pellagatti agrees. He says he’s had unpleasant interactions with meter readers. “They had terrible workers over there,” he said. “I mean, you go to the bank for five minutes and bango, you know? Instead of giving a guy five minutes to come out, bang. They’ll slap a ticket on you in a second.”
Councilman Michael Yun is no fan of the authority either, but says the mayor’s taking a meat cleaver to a job that really needs a scalpel. The problem, says Yun, is not too little enforcement, but too little parking.
“The mayor should pay attention with the Parking Authority to create some more parking in the neighborhood,” he said. “We have to create the spaces, not dissolve the authority. Dissolving the authority is not going to solve the problem as long as we don’t create more parking spaces.”
Terrence Linskey says he’s one of the lucky ones. He has his own driveway. “These lots fill up down here, you know, and then there’s only the one other one by the Burger King,” he notes, motioning to the municipal lot nearby. “There’s not a lot of public parking. I mean you have to search. On the weekends it’s bad.”
Which is kind of what the city’s counting on, says the mayor. When asked if the new enforcement schedule will mean people are going to start getting hit with more tickets, Fulop responded, “No, they’re not going to get hit with more tickets. People need to park legally and, as long as they’re parking legally, we have no problem with them.”
Regardless of how difficult it’s becoming here to find a spot that’s actually legal.