Paterson Top Stories

Paterson Takes Another Crack at Imposing Parade Fees

5039ec93f0bd5a15630c_turkishparade2011.jpg
File photo of last year's Turkish parade held in Clifton. In previous years, the parade had started in Paterson and ended in Clifton, but organizers oted not to pay the fees the city was asking for.
5039ec93f0bd5a15630c_turkishparade2011.jpg

 

PATERSON, NJ – In an effort to avoid the controversies that arose last year, city officials are working on a new ordinance to regulate parades in Paterson. In particular, city officials are trying to come up with a way to impose fees to cover city expenses stemming from the parades without infringing on cultural groups’ constitutional rights.

Parades celebrating Turkish, Peruvian, African-American and Puerto Rican heritage were canceled or rerouted last year after the city decided to require cultural groups sponsoring the parades to pick up the tab for overtime and other expenses associated with police and public works services needed for the events.

Sign Up for E-News

The Dominican parade group was the only one that managed to hold its event and that came only after it sued the city in federal court on the grounds that the fees violated the organization’s constitutional rights of free speech. In a settlement negotiated in the judge’s chambers last summer, the city agreed not to impose the fees on the Dominican group, which in turn agreed to reduce the length of the parade route.

That deal temporarily opened the way for parades to resume operating as they had prior to Paterson’s attempt to collect fees. But city officials are moving ahead with a new effort to regulate the parades and impose fees. Last year’s Dominican parade cost the city more than $60,000 in police and public works overtime, according to city officials. In 2010, when all the cultural parades went on, the city spent more than $250,000 in overtime and other costs for the events, according to municipal records.

In the midst of an ongoing budget crisis, city officials say they cannot afford to pay for the private groups’ celebrations.

At its meeting Tuesday night, the city council referred a proposed parade ordinance to its public safety, public works and finance subcommittees for review and modifications before it gets put to a vote. Last year’s attempt at collecting fees was done without enacting an ordinance.

In any case, it seems unlikely the new ordinance would be ready to take effect in time for the first parade planned for this year, the Turkish event scheduled for May 20. After going through the three committees, the ordinance would to be voted on at two separate city council meetings and then be the subject of a public hearing. After all that, the new city law could not take effect until 20 days after it were approved.

Moreover, the parade fee ordinance likely will become a lightning rod for controversy heightened by the political campaign leading up to the May 8 city council elections. Last year’s plan for imposing the parade fees galvanized the city’s Dominican community, which has emerged a new force in Paterson politics.

At Tuesday’s meeting, Councilman Julio Tavarez protested that the subcommittees were being given the draft of the administration’s proposed parade fee ordinance to consider, but not his version. Tavarez said he is proposing an ordinance that would not impose any fees, but simply set up a municipal appeal process for groups whose parade permits are denied. The lack of such an appeal process is one of the reasons the Dominican group ended up taking Paterson to federal court.

 

TAP Into Another Town's News:

You May Also Be Interested In

Sign Up for E-News

Paterson

Upcoming Events

Carousel_image_3f27a97645e7103f9868_flyer__courthouse_plaza_programs_2018-page-001

Tue, June 26, 11:00 AM

Paterson Courthouse Plaza, Paterson

Tuesdays in the Plaza

Carousel_image_e87dccd9e01a34bb751a_17e72275-dfa6-4ff8-bbe8-8bc953cd5fcf

Wed, June 27, 9:00 AM

Paterson Fire Headquarters, Paterson

Job Fair

Business & Finance Police & Fire

African Heritage Parade a Success

June 18, 2018

Dear Editor: 

I am writing this letter to publicly apologize to the African Heritage Parade Committee and its chief organizer, Ms. Ada Pugh.

I’ll explain why. Throughout the years I have been quite critical of the parade. I would often offer scaving objections to the planning, preparation, and even down to the marching itself. I have a tendency to be tough. I won’t ...

Pou Bill to Assist Saving for Higher Education Through Tax Deduction Advances

June 19, 2018

TRENTON - A bill sponsored by Senate Commerce Committee Chairwoman Nellie Pou that would assist parents saving for their children's college tuition through a gross income tax deduction passed the Senate Higher Education Committee today.

"This bill will give parents another incentive to save for their children's higher education," said Senator Pou (D-Passaic/Bergen) ...

Pascrell, Nadler, Congressional Colleagues Make Surprise Visit to ICE Detention Center to See Separated Families, Jail Conditions

ELIZABETH, NJ – This morning, U.S. Representative Bill Pascrell, Jr. (D-NJ-09), and Reps. Jerrold Nadler (D-NY-10), Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY-08), Frank Pallone (D-NJ-06), Carolyn Maloney (D-NY-12), Adriano Espaillat (D-NY-13), and Albio Sires (D-NJ-08) arrived at the ICE Detention Center in Elizabeth, New Jersey on Father’s Day morning and demanded to see the parents of families ...

Sports Betting Is Off And Running in New Jersey

June 15, 2018

OCEANPORT, NJ — Governor Phil Murphy officially ushered in sports betting in New Jersey when he made the initial wager at Monmouth Park  on June 14.

Governor Murphy, an avid soccer fan who has called ESPN’s “Sportscenter” his favorite show, placed the first bet  — $20 on Germany to win the World Cup. He also bet $20 on the N.J. Devils to ...

Senator Pou’s Statement on Hurricane Maria Evacuee Session

June 9, 2018

PATERSON, NJ- Senator Nellie Pou (D-Paterson) released the following statement regarding the Hurricane Maria Evacuee session to be held on Monday, June 11, in Paterson:

 

I am happy that we are able to bring these types of informational sessions to the residents of Paterson and surrounding areas to ensure that Hurricane Maria evacuees are made aware of the programs available to them ...