On August 25th, 2014, Newark Council voted 4-3 in support of taking your money by clearing any leftover time from the ‘smart meters’ when you pull away.
No more lucky feeling of pulling up to a meter with time left on it.
There were several reasons that the city gave for supporting this thievery, with their primary reason that they simply wanted more money.
While this level of greed might be alarming to you, at least they were honest about their intentions.
However, the honesty ended there, as the lies came out.
First, the City Finance Director, Lou Vitola, tried to classify this action as a “fee” instead of a tax.
He knows that the word “fee” sounds better to the ears of the citizens.
Councilman Rob Gifford challenged Vitola that since the City collected positive revenue from the meters, it is a tax.
The Finance Director responded:
“It is a user fee in the sense that you are paying for parking, but there is a surplus. If you define that as a tax, I guess, but it’s a user fee by definition.”
Unfortunately for the Finance Director, the U.S. Supreme Court clearly defined that a fee is to defray the cost of a service, while a tax is designed to raise revenue.
Revenue = Tax. It couldn’t be more simple.
Next, several residents voiced that the City should use the smart meter technology to the residents’ favor, not to take advantage of them.
Since the smart meters have sensors, the credit card could just be charged for the time spent in the space.
And at that point, the floodgates opened.
Councilman Gifford asked if the meter could just charge for the time used.
Planning Director Maureen Feeney Roser responded:
“No. You can choose increments, but it has to be in the increments that are built into the fee structure.”
Resident John Morgan asked if the meters could be programmed to charge appropriately.
The response came from Parking Administrator, Marvin Howard:
“The meters will not do that at this time. They are not smart enough to do that I guess you could say.”
It only took Newark Campaign for Liberty one quick phone call to IPS Group, the manufacturer of the smart meters, to find out the truth:
The smart meters absolutely have the ability to only charge customers for the time spent at the meters.
Paid city employees lied — on record — to the citizens and their Council in order to steal money from the residents.
This false information swayed four council members to vote in support of taking more of your money.
It certainly swayed one Council member, Todd Ruckle, who cast the deciding vote.
It would only take one council member to come to their better senses and call for a re-vote.
They should feel betrayed by the lies and vote properly to overturn the decision to rob the public at the meters.
Please let your council member know that they voted based on a pack of lies.
New Castle County Coordinator
Delaware Campaign for Liberty
P.S. Newark City Administration deceived City Council and the members of public into a decision to clear parking meters and keep the money for the unused time.
This misguided decision will steal and extra $55,000 from us each year!