Senior Parking discount at midtown garage passes, grandstanding pain on the temporary budget in the end does too

Councilman Michael Russo’s proposal for a $120 rate for seniors in the midtown garage passed 5-2 Wednesday night.  Voting in favor with Councilman Russo were council members Carol Marsh, Jen Giattino, Beth Mason and Tim Occhipinti.

A heated discussion about the matter split whether the pricing should be on a percentage or flat rate basis and the failure to hold meetings in the appropriate subcommittee. Councilman Russo did not attend several meetings and Councilman Dave Mello made a point that he was fine with it but didn’t want to vote on the issue without going through that process.

The idea of means testing arose but did not gain muster leading into the vote.  Councilwoman Carol Marsh raised the issue of tabling the resolution but changed to a yes vote as tabling was raised too late.

Councilman Russo obtained a flat rate senior discount for senior parking in the
high demand midtown garage.  Seniors will pay $120 a month.  

Talking Ed Notes: Why should seniors get a $120 garage rate anyway?  Because they are seniors?  Shouldn’t it be based on means testing?  If a senior’s net worth is in seven figures, should they pay a reduced rate over another resident who is paying full boat of $200 a month?

Earlier in a discussion on city bills, Councilman Tim Occhipinti asked about 34K in legal costs on the refinance for the midtown garage.  The refi of the midtown garage attached to the hospital would have saved Hoboken $4,000,000 in last year’s budget plus an additional $50,000 if it had passed.  Occhipinti along with the other members of MORTe repeatedly refused to provide the sixth vote required for that refinance.

Anyone else see the irony of Occhipinti now complaining about the 34K legal bill for that effort?  There was no logical reason to vote against a refi with ultra low interest rates available on the midtown garage.  It’s this type of hypocritical disconnect that makes it maddening to listen to Occhipinti for any length in a council meeting.

A worm has a longer memory on why it turned in the ground.

Temporary budget – the state mandates a standard 26.25% figure against the prior year budget and this is painfully difficult for Hoboken’s City Council to fathom (or rather to stop grandstanding on the matter).  Last year the Beth Russo hydra overlooked that temporary budget standard entirely to make a farce of it with Mike Russo bringing his own temporary budget on a piece of paper in pencil.  MORTe held control of the council at that time and became infamous for their consistent needless obstruction.

This discussion was equally ridiculous in the waste of time at this meeting.  To go into the details isn’t worth it but the usual characters held to form before finally letting common sense on a state budget standard pass 6-1 with only Beth Mason voting no.  (That’s becoming a more common occurrence these days.)

Tim Occhipinti: on the job and costing Hoboken taxpayers yet again.
He suffers short term memory on his actions costing Hoboken millions in savings.

Councilwoman Beth Mason’s redundant resolution on the Monarch project asked the Corporation Counsel re: legal department to advise the council on the matter and for other future “waterfront” matters although resident Jim Doyle said the resolution and the earlier symbolic resolution passed by the Council last October was in error, as in unnecessary and perhaps less than useful.

Corporation Counsel Mark Tabakin noted an appeal is in the works to the State and he did not wish to see any action additional in the City Council that might interfere with that ongoing process which could lead to some “unintended consequence.”  He added that he was already looking into it and did not require a request in an additional resolution.

Councilman Peter Cunningham noted that Beth Mason’s request was a “politically motivated resolution,” adding the work was already being done.  Occhipinti blurted out in his usual petulant style “pass it.”  No doubt he’s earned some of his 30K from Mason by doing so.

The resolution passed easily and no doubt we’ll all be hearing about it in an email blast and/or on Hoboken411 when Mason pats herself on the back for the meaningless action.

During New Business, Public Safety Director Jon Tooke noted the owner of the burned out building at 1st and Jackson had been issued additional summonses for violations earlier in the day.  The owner has been urged by the City to demolish a necessary portion of the burned out structure along with needed clean up.

Tim Occhipinti proposed to Director Ian Sacs the City should allow visitors to buy a $5 day pass online to park all day in Hoboken.  Sacs noted this would remove the existing visitors policy and turn Hoboken into a daily “commuter parking lot.”  ($5 a day now that’s a bargain!)

Director Sacs added a beta program is close to introduction to allow Hoboken residents to purchase visitors passes online. On a different aspect, Councilman Russo asked about the parking permit surrender program re: permits returned for the Hertz Connect “Corner Cars.”  Sacs noted there are currently 40 Hertz Connect vehicles available and 98 Hoboken residents have actively returned their permits due to the program.  It’s unclear how many other residents have not opted to obtain or bring vehicles into Hoboken as residents due to the Hertz program but there’s approximately 1900 members signed up to use the Hertz Connect vehicles.  (That is an off the hook figure no matter who’s counting.)

Directors Sacs noted the program is doing “fantastic” and thanked Councilman Russo for asking about the surrender program.  A package of discounts and free passes to the City’s Hop buses are given when Hoboken residents return their parking permit and state it’s related to the Hertz Connect program.

Director Ian Sacs has seen huge adoption by Hoboken residents in the
Hertz Connect program for the 40 corner cars in neighborhoods.

For more on the Hertz Connect program:

Update: Councilman Peter Cunningham who has been working on a limited corner revision with city officials over months saw his ordinance on the matter easily pass.  The question is if it can create a number of spots without becoming a problem for the fire department in emergencies.

MSV will look into this as it very well could be more complicated than hoped.

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