Among other issues, the Township Council will tackle one particularly contentious matter at its meeting Tuesday evening: the dismantling of the Montclair Parking Authority.
In a preliminary vote, the council already voted to dissolve the entity at a meeting last month.
But the idea must be approved by the state and can't be finalized without a public hearing.
In January, the board of the Montclair Parking Authority—which has been unable to meet its financial obligations— to enter into a new contract with the township.
At the time, then-Mayor Jerry Fried said he was confident that the new agreement would pave the way for improved parking services and accountability.
"Almost all [township] council members believe that having a separate authority is a benefit to the township and we will continue this structure," he said at the time.
But now Robert Jackson is mayor and he appears to have his own ideas.
"The Mayor does say he has a plan ... so we'll just have to see what that plan is, and how it plays out," said former Councilor Cary Africk. "He seems to be very confident, so let's give him the benefit of the doubt."
Africk, who has spent considerable time studying the Montclair Parking Authority, said that the problem isn't the current form.
"An authority is fine. A utility poses problems, one of which is that it would report to the town manager and he certainly doesn't need more work and responsibility," he said.
But Africk agrees with the new council that a change is needed.
"Do people realize that our Parking Authority not only outsources the operation, but also has a parking consultant on board?," he said. "Each of these steps adds costs. And the infrastructure needs attention, and money. There have been few capital improvements. There needs to be more."
As it stands, the Montclair Parking Authority is in charge of the town's public parking lots, parking meters, parking permits, parking decks, and the enforcement of parking rules.
Under the new council's proposal, the council and township manager would take charge of all parking matters including the development of parking lots.
A parking utility would be set up to oversee parking, parking lots, and parking meters.
For years,all sorts of concerns related to the Montclair Parking Authority's handling of parking issues.
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