So Hoboken is $12 million in the hole, huh? Here are five easy ways to generate revenue without punishing residents for simply living here:
* Hold a parking spot auction. On each and every block of Hoboken, on both sides of the street, reserve one parking spot and auction off a year's lease. Some garage rates in town are as high as $250 per month, or $3,000 per year. Some residents or businesses would be willing to pay that much for a guaranteed spot steps from the front door. Since those cars are parked on the street anyhow, this won't exacerbate the existing parking problem. If 1,000 spots are auctioned off at a minimum of $3,000 each, that's $3,000,000 in annual revenue.
* Institute two-tier double-parking ticketing. I can't prove it, but I think that double parking goes unpunished because the ticket writers have sympathy for the violators. It's nearly impossible to run errands or drop off your groceries without double parking. A $50 ticket seems like an extreme penalty for a problem with no work-around. But how about a $5 ticket? If you double park, you take a risk. A $5 gamble doesn't seem that bad. Tier 2 of the system can kick in when a ticket writer finds a car that already has a $5 ticket. Obviously, that driver didn't run upstairs for a minute or two. No excuse there. Write a $75 ticket. If the parking authority issues at least one hundred $5 tickets and ten $75 tickets per day, they will generate about half a million dollars of revenue in a year.
* Enforce moving violations. I'm not talking about a slow crawl through a stop sign or failure to use a turn signal. I'm talking about the attempted vehicular homicides that occur minute-by-minute on 1st St., 13th St., Newark St., Garden St., etc. When someone obtains a hunting license, the hunter must accept responsibility for the safe use of a rifle. You can't brandish it in order to get to the front of M&P's lunchtime line. Why do we allow drivers to brush back pedestrians in the crosswalk? Run sting operations until the budget deficit is closed, then continue and use the additional income to lower taxes.
* Buy digital cameras. How much time and money is wasted in municipal courts by people fighting unenforceable parking tickets for real violations? That time should be reserved for people with genuine complaints, not people trying to game the system. When issuing a ticket for parking too close to the corner, take a photo to prove it.
* Issue more taxi medallions. I have sympathy for drivers; the pay stinks and passengers can be rude, rowdy, drunk, or intimidating. But if there aren't enough cabs during rush hours and weekend nights, well, there aren't enough cabs at all. Getting a cab should be easier than getting a parking spot. Getting a cab should be so easy that drunk driving is never a temptation. We need more. And, really, would the city collapse if we legalized hailing cabs on the street?