At the previous City Council meeting there was a minor but instructive matter that occurred. Theresa Castellano, Beth Mason, Michael Russo and Tim Occhipinti once again proved that they care more about halting positive city wide improvements rather than voting on a sensible resolution that would improve one of Hoboken’s most vexing problems.
Have any of you (or a friend or family member) ever had a car towed in Hoboken? I have and it is a cumbersome and frustrating process. Currently you have to go to three places just to get your vehicle back.
First you trod to City Hall where you stand in line, seemingly forever at the Parking Utility and with paper and pen they laboriously fill out a form which you take to the police station, where you wait as they perform their part of the task. Then finally after more than usually one hour you go all the way uptown to the tow yard where you must pay in cash.
Mayor Dawn Zimmer proposed a competitive contract to locate a software firm to provide a program where you would go directly to the tow yard, instead of the other 2 spots. If you currently live uptown you have to walk or hail a cab, go downtown to City Hall and then to the police station, then walk to the cab stand (or walk one 1+ mile uptown) and wait in line and take a cab uptown and finally arrive at the tow yard. If the resolution was passed you could simply walk to uptown tow yard. If the tow yard is another of the 4 rotating, you could just as easily call a cab and they could come to your home and take you directly to the other tow yard. Remember, to get a receipt from the cabbie and the cost will be deducted from the tow bill.
Imagine if you live downtown and the resolution had passed. You would simply have to call a cab and go directly to the applicable tow yard. The tow yard then electronically informs the police who sign off making sure there are no outstanding warrants, etc. and your car is released after payment. Right now we have 4 vendors, but the software would work just as well if we go back to 1 vendor or 6. But since Hoboken has 4 council people who couldn’t care less about shortening the Parking Utility lines (and freeing up more personnel to handle permits, making those lines move faster) forcing Hoboken residents and visitors to endure a byzantine 19th Century system instead of a one stop 21st Century program.
Once again it is Mayor Zimmer and Councilpeople Ravi Bhalla, Dave Mello, Jen Giattino and Peter Cunningham who are working hard to make your lives easier and more efficient. Likewise they care about making our municipal employees jobs more productive. I had to stand in line, seemingly forever for visitor permits, moving signs and the tow process. I have personally witnessed the frustration that occurs under the present system. Unfortunately due to the obstinate minority your frustration and time away from doing something more productive will not come to pass.
It’s amazing, for a reasonable amount of money everyone’s life would improve, except for a minority that couldn’t care less about you. If you have horror stories about the length of time in line at the Parking Utility, please feel free to chime in.
Here’s the resolution link:
Here’s a guide to towing and booting regulations:
There also some confusion over the bid process. Competitive bidding is controlled through NJ statute N.J.S.A. 40A:11-1t seq. This includes (but not limited to) normal items such as paving, indoor and outdoor maintenance, stationary, repairs, recycling, etc. The bid limit is $25,000.
Bid threshold exceeding is allowed because Hoboken has a qualified bid officer that is now state mandated. There is no off the shelf software available. Competitive contract does include bidding, but price is not the sole factor as some items are more complicated and nuanced. Competitive Contracting is covered by Section 40A:11-4.1 which clearly states:
a. The purchase or licensing of proprietary computer software designed for contracting unit purposes, which may include hardware intended for use with the proprietary software. This subsection shall not be utilized for the purpose of acquiring general purpose computer hardware or software;
Good luck and remember as you pass the time in the Parking Utility line remember to thank Theresa Castellano, Michael Russo and don’t forget to especially thank Tim Occhipinti. Beth Mason, who bizarrely compared this to the Robotic Garage which is a hundred times larger and 1,000 times more complicated, having to constantly move multiple 1-2 ton vehicles, has zero comparison to this resolution.
If you believe as I do that Hoboken should modernize their systems and join the 21st Century then please sign a petition I have created. Let your friends and neighbors sign it too: