Bloomfield Council Discusses “Predatory Booting” of Vehicles, Makes Appointments

Councilman Nick Joanow brought up the issue of “predatory bootings” taking place at private parking lots at Monday’s brief conference meeting.

Photo credit: Maria Probst
Photo credit: Maria Probst

Joanow explained that “booting” a car meant attaching a mechanical device to a vehicle that immobilizes it. He said a lot of residents had told him that they had been booted when parking in private lots and had had to pay $100 or $200 (depending on location) in cash in order to get the device removed. While emphasizing that the residents had parked illegally and should not have done so, he said, “I’m offended by a company that would prey on our own residents. It’s like killing a flea with a sledgehammer.”

He reiterated to residents, “Do not park in private lots; they will do what the sign says they will do…They are aggressively enforcing.” Joanow went on to say, “My charge to the Administrator is to look at the county level. There is ‘predatory towing.’ Let’s not gouge the residents.” He explained that the agencies booting residents’ vehicles are “waiting for you – that’s the predatory part.” He asked the administration to see what leverage the town may have to protect the residents. Joanow mentioned that the McDonald’s on Broad Street is one of the locations where residents are being booted for parking illegally.

The council voted to create a cap bank to give the administration flexibility for future appropriations as needed. Township Administrator Watkins explained that this does not raise taxes, but simply protects money that the township has already saved. According to the NJ Department of Community Affairs, a municipality may bank (for up to two years) the difference between its final appropriation subject to the budget cap, and 3.5%.

Finance Director Robert Renna announced the township had held a successful sale of bonds totaling $24.4 million at a net interest rate of 1.15%.

The mayor and council also voted to approve members to numerous boards and commissions. Leo Sceurman and Jessica Alfreds were promoted from alternate to regular members of the Zoning Board, and new member Greg Moormann was appointed as an alternate. Thess Prince and Trevor Munson were reappointed as alternates. On the Planning Board, Greg Babula was reappointed and Zeke Harvey appointed as an alternate. Denise Seabay was reappointed to the Board of Health, and Nicole Williams was reappointed to the Parking Authority.

Other Business

The council also passed a number of other action items awarding contracts for various township functions, including Township Attorney. They also voted to reject and rebid for the purchase of a truck cab with chassis.

Councilor Wartyna Davis reported on the upcoming Martin Luther King Day events. Saturday, January 14, will be the MLK Day of Service, to be held at Berkeley School. Check-in time for participants is 8 a.m. Monday, January 16, will be the MLK Day Celebration, from 4 to 6 p.m. at the New Light Baptist Church.Dr. Antoinette Ellis-Williams will be the key speaker. In addition, Davis said, they will be presenting service awards.

The next meeting will be a regular meeting, to be held on Monday, January 23, 2017, in the council chambers at 7 p.m.

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