The Township of Montclair is one step closer to disbanding its Parking Authority after a state board voted this week to approve dissolving the authority.
The Department of Community Affairs’ Local Finance Board voted unanimously Wednesday to approve the liquidation of the township’s parking authority, said spokeswoman Lisa Ryan.
The authority has been beset with problems for years -- and reportedly owes millions in revenue to the township, in addition to having management problems.
Montclair Township Manager Marc Dashield said the township will more forward with getting rid of the parking authority now that it has the finance board’s approval.
“The township is dissolving the parking authority and part of that process requires an approval from the local finance board for us to do that,” he said.
Dashield said ordinance will be introduced to the town council in the coming months to end the authority. He said the council is expected to end the authority by the start of the new year.
“There will be a number of steps in between figuring out the transition and putting things together," he said.
When the parking authority is dissolved, the township will regain control of the public parking lots, meters, parking permits, decks and parking enforcement. Town leaders said a parking utility will be set up to run the parking in town, similar to water and sewer utilities.
The previous council and mayor renegotiated a contract with the parking authority earlier this year. However, soon after the new mayor and council were sworn in on July 1, they began the process of dissolving the parking authority.
The parking authority is also under investigation by the state Commission of Investigation, according to a recent report in the The Montclair Times.
The Times reported that unnamed sources said the commission is asking the parking authority for “financial documents going back five years ... including information regarding contracts and travel.”
Lee Seglem, assistant director of the Commission on Investigation, said on Thursday he “can’t confirm or deny that we are conducting any investigation” regarding the parking authority.
Dashield said he too was unable to comment about whether Commission on Investigation was investigating the parking authority.
The seven member parking authority is now down to five after the chairman and vice chairman recently stepped down. Former Chairman Dewey Storms announced his retirement on Tuesday, and former Vice Chairman Matthew Silverman resigned Sept. 4.
The Times also reported that Dale Jacobs, the treasurer of the parking authority, recently resigned from that position “... after refusing to sign an Aug. 10 letter prepared by the MPA's auditors, saying that the MPA had fully reported information and that it had no knowledge of fraud or suspected fraud.”