This means the cost to park at meters and off-street public parking facilities will double starting in January, according to a resolution passed at the Nov. 17 meeting of the Bayonne Parking Authority.
The increases are directly tied to the recent program and associated costs to provide more parking in the business districts in Bayonne, Parking Authority officials said.
Although the Parking Authority did away with dime parking meters two years ago, the fees for meters have not been raised since 1989 - this despite the fact that a program initiated to purchase and construct new off-street parking facilities through a $4 million bond. Although the Parking Authority refinanced the bond in order to reduce the interest cots in May 2005, new revenue is needed to cover the payments of principle and interests on the bond.
The authority did ask its bonding attorneys - McManimon and Scotland - to recommend possible sources of revenue. These including a surcharge on street sweeping tickets, charging a fee or issuing and renewing residential parking permits, and increasing the fees for meters and off-street parking in public lots.
The Parking Authority opted to raise fees on meters and parking, but leave residential parking permits free. They also chose against imposing a surcharge.
"This will allow us to pay off the bonding used to provide additional parking in the city," said BPA Director Carl Ciupinski.
The change is in line with other municipalities
In order to determine whether proposed fee increase was in line with what other municipalities are changing, the Parking Authority reviewed rates being charged elsewhere in Hudson County and New Jersey. Union City, Jersey City, North Bergen, Hoboken and West New York all charge 25 cents per half hour as proposed in the new rates for Bayonne. The new fees for off-street public parking in Bayonne are also similar to those charged in most Hudson County municipalities. Meters will rise from 25 cents per hour to 50 cents per hour starting in January.
Although the cost of street meters will go up, the Parking Authority will be providing a shorter time option, allowing people to park for 10 minutes for 10 cents. This would require meter heads to be changed again in order to accommodate dimes.
"The thirty minute meters didn't work so we're bringing the ten cent slot back," said Ciupinski.
This provides people with several advantages. It allows people who don't want to park for a full half hour to pay in ten minute increments. It also provides for people who do not have a quarter to park and pay with dimes, thus avoiding the ticket they might get if they had to run into a store for change.
Meters would vanish from off-street public parking lots in exchange for pay stations similar to machines that are already in use in towns like Secaucus and in the lots that service the Hudson Bergen Light Rail. Parking spots would be numbered and people would pay a quarter per half hour up to ten hours.
This, according to BPA Director Carl Ciupinski will have the added advantage of giving drivers a receipt.
"If a person comes up with a ticket that says 3 p.m., and the receipt says they've paid until 3:15 p.m., that's proof," he said.
He also noted that this will allow people to pay with paper money as well as coins, and the new machines would replace the 400 meters currently used there - significantly reducing the maintenance cost of repairing individual meters when they break.
Other fee changes
The new fees will actually result in the lowering of parking fee at the 29th Street and Broadway lot where drivers currently pay $1 per hour.
Monthly permit parking fees for these lots would be increased from $35 to $50. Commercial parking fees for overnight parking in these lots would be increased from $25 to $35 per month.
The residential parking permits for Bayonne will remain free and the $150 per year fee for non-residents is unchanged.
"We're not going to charge for resident parking, the way other municipalities do, and we aren't charging for visitor passes the way other municipalities do," Ciupinski said.
In addition, the parking lot between East 18th and 19th streets will be fully opened by the end of November.
"This lot doubles the number of spaces in the existing lot and will help the needs of the public in a busy neighborhood," he said.
The lot has not been completely repaved, but the Parking Authority asked the contractor to strip the still incomplete half in order to accommodate shoppers.
"There is no charge for the month of December," Ciupinski said. "After that, the contractor will finish the lot and stripe again."
A third new lot, located behind the Bayonne Public Library is also expected to open in a few months.
In addition to these lots, Ciupinski said, bids were awarded on Nov. 17 for the redevelopment of five other lots at West 21st, West 24th Street, East 26th Street and two lots on East 24th Street. As well as upgrading and improving these lots, in some lots the work will result in additional parking spaces.
"We hope work will start within a week," he said, although he could not set a date when the lots would be complete.