Cash-Strapped Passaic, N.J. To Charge Handicapped Residents For Parking Spots

For $50 You Get A Community Spot, But For $75 You Get A Personalized Spot

PASSAIC, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — Passaic, like most cities, is faced with serious budgetary problems and is trying to find ways to bring in new revenue.

Its latest plan goes after disabled drivers, and, as CBS 2’s John Slattery reports, many are not pleased.

For years now, 80-year-old Wanda Walis has had something free that now will cost her.

“It’s disgusting. It’s terrible. Terrible,” said Walis, who has leg and lung problems.

WCBS 880’s Levon Putney On The Story

The freebie is out in front of her home: a handicapped parking spot which she uses and Passaic has provided for free. On Thursday night the Passaic Council finalized an ordinance to charge the disabled $50.

“It’s terrible. They don’t have the money. How do you pay for this?” Walis said.

Walis told WCBS 880’s Levon Putney she doesn’t know how she’ll afford it.

“I get $18,000 a year,” Walis said, referring to the $7,000 she gets from a pension and more than $10,000 in Social Security.

“I can’t work. Why are you hitting me? They make $70,000 … $80,000. That hurts. That hurts. They don’t care. They have no heart for the residents.”

The fee for the first year is $50, but anyone disabled could park there. So, $75 will get you a personalized spot that only your car can use.

Clearly, the locals are not happy with this new mandate.

“I’m invalid, plastic hip. No good. No good,” Haber Wladyslawa said.

City officials said with 250 existing signs and another 100 applicants, the cost is real.

“We’re talking about a budget item in excess of $200,000,” Passaic Council President Gary Schaer said.

Critics of the fees said it would bring in only $10,000. One of them is the 88-year-old former mayor, who said it’s all an insult to the disabled and to the taxpayers.

“You’re talking about $10,000 in an $82 million budget. I mean, come on,” Margie Semler said.

The former mayor suggested that instead of going after the disabled, the council members should take a cut in pay, saying they earn about $27,000 a year for two meetings a month.

The Passaic Council estimates it costs $650 to install signs on one parking space.

It also recently floated a plan to end free Sunday parking to deal with financial woes.

Do you think the city is going too far to deal with its budget strains? Sound off in the comments section below!

  • pots

    Haha…NJ voted these morons in…When Koch lost his election in NYC he was rumored to have said “the people have spoke, and now they will suffer”…well folks you got what you wanted in NJ and on a national level…enjoy

  • scott


  • bull s@@t

    this is total bull s@@t we are talking about 50 bucks grow up people also it COSTS the city to put in the signs not to mention the inconvenience to all the other people on the block people can be so selfish

  • mj

    some of the people commentimng on this are truly handicapped and a placard in their car wouldn’t help them in the least

  • Ryan

    How low can these guys go? This world is going to crap morally, socially, economically and spiritually. Here are 7 things every family should have to survive the coming economic collapse.



    • Pay up or shut up

      A little bitter are you.Just because your a senior or handicapped you do not deserve a free ride.I seen most people with handicap plates or placards that move better then me.If you want the perk pay for it.

      • mj

        itsYOU’RE and I’VE SEEN ….. you obviously got a free ride through school or YOU’RE educationally handicapped

  • SKIP

    no hanicap parking,NO CUSTOMERS

  • NJ818

    Perhaps the City Council members should readily forfeit any free parking placards they may possess, and pay $100.00 for a parking permit. They should also forfeit any city owned vehicles they are currently utilizing, and have the City sell them outright. That should cover any shortfall in the city budget to cover the cost of free disabled parking for the handicapped.

  • fran650

    I I have seen a huge pecentage of handicapped users that shouldn’t be driving. And really don’t have a lot of sympathy for the woman who gets $17,000.00 tax free from tax payers each year, free mecical care and probably food stamps as well as free utilities including a cell phone. We need complexes of one bedroom units, meals and utilities included, provided to the people in stead of giving them money. They would also be mentally healthier as they wouldn’t be as lonely.

  • Donald Walker

    It seems to me, anyone getting over $1100 Dollars a meeting to sit on their illustrious arse can take a wage loss to handle a little thing like handicapped parking… but heaven help the little guy if it rocks their little boat in their very little pond

    • Jontrellius Theodorius Jackson IV

      I’ve got a better idea. Let’s tax liberals to vote for liberals. That will solve EVERY budget problem.

  • Russ in OR

    I have a better idea; let’s keep the handicapped parking free, and charge those who park there when they are not eligible, or use someone else’s placard, a $1000 fine.

  • Bob

    You mean they can afford a car, gasoline, tolls, automobile insurance, and maintenance, but they can’t afford to pay for parking? Bullfeathers.

  • CraigS

    Why don’t we cut the pay of the people responsible for this financial mess such as the mayor to zero. Why is it that they never have to suffer. We the taxpayers are always told to suck it up, well maybe it is time they sucked it up.

  • Jack Kennedy

    its the obama way……….taxing with no cutting of spending

  • tax payer

    Start with all city workers getting a pay cut and benifit reduction

  • woodNfish

    Why shouldn’t handicapped people pay just like the rest of us do? I agree with USArmyCombatMedic; disabled doesn’t mean poor. There is no reason to create a special class of citizen.

  • Ronald Larson

    I agree. Take away the perks for the ILLEGALS and send them back to where they first broke the law and we will be better off.

  • WCM

    Have to admit, the idea doesn’t bother me much. A large percentage of the “disabled” around here look perfectly healthy, just excessively overweight and too lazy to walk a little further to get to the little motorized carts. The so-called disabled identifier has been so abused that maybe its about time to introduce this little deterrent. Scary enough that REAL disabled people are behind the wheel of nearby cars often times.

    • Bill

      Looks can be deceiving. Don’t judge by your standards. I was once healthy and able, but you can look at me and not see that the short walk is debilitating. Consider, for a moment, you begin to have issues. What then? You can’t walk without great pain, risk of injury or death.
      Be careful. I once looked differently at this subject too – now I am the subject.

      • WCM

        On the other hand, my left leg was severed and re-attached when I was 9 years old. I could easily qualify for a “disabled” placard, but I have no problem walking that distance because I’m not pathetic enough to let something as serious as that get the best of me. I’m personally sick of all the whiners who get sniffles and have to stay home, and think getting winded from actually walking around makes them somehow “disabled”. And on top of that, I work in the same building as a VA. I see honorable disabled men every day who don’t let real injuries get the best of them. The problem is that it is too easy to be qualified for these in the first place. And as I alluded to in the first post, if you are so disabled you can’t walk or move around much, why on Earth are you driving in the first place? I can understand if you are a permanent passenger, but 9 times out of 10, its a single morbidly obese person getting out of the car with the disabled placard.

  • crisis4ever

    Just charge $50 from all the drug dealers for a permit and the you would balance the budget in Passaic in about 6 months

  • Brenda

    Well they do need to make up some money to pay for leeches birth control, don’t ya know? You’re just disabled, you mean nothing. We have to take care of the Democratic ho’s!!!

  • lee

    Corrupt California DEA where stealing drugs from evidence vaults and reselling them to cover extensive credit card debt.
    They also are creating suspects by planting evidence just so that they can steal from them.
    Given the choice of suspension or dealing with their debt most DEA are thinking outside the box.

    • Gerry

      Where do I sign up? Sounds like a license to steal, like something out of the movie “Training Day”!

  • Bob

    I wonder how much the city council members and the mayor’s office make a year?

  • Don

    Chicago has been doing that for years. Both Democrat run cities.

    • Shayne

      Actually, that isn’t correct. I did not have to pay for my handicap placard, nor do I have to “feed the meter” at any municipal, or street spot. And yes, I live in Chicago. This city has a great deal of corruption. But this is one thing they are good about.

  • james conner

    I have some people exit a car in a handicapped parking spot and make it to the store just as fast as I have or better. I also have seen a elderly couple park in a regular spot and walk slowly to the store through all the lot traffic. Go figure.

  • Roger Sunderlin

    next they will have the death panels out saying your life is too expensive to keep alive.obamacare kicking in next year.

    • Gerry

      You are an ignorant pi@@ant.

    • taylor

      you sir are an idiot

  • Joeymom

    Do non-disabled people pay for their parking spots? If they pay, everyone pays. If they don’t pay, no one pays.

    • coalcracker

      it’s called TAXES

  • Akela

    What do you want to bet that if Amber Elizabeth Holbin suddenly received a promotion paying over $100k a year her ridiculous whining would disappear like last week’s obama promise.

  • lwayne

    Soon only the rich non handicapped will have the cards. Typical liberal solution.

  • Bill Henschel

    Not a problem, no one wants to park in Passiac.

  • Huff and Puff

    “Government is a broker in pillage, and every election is a sort of advance auction in stolen goods.” ~ H. L. Mencken


  • phreetoz

    hah, that’s not even 15000$, how broke is this city? How lame.

  • CLA

    That’s what TAXES are for. We pay into a pool that provides certain commodities for ALL. I’m no tax lover, but I do understand the necessity of funds to keep a city going.

    What’s NOT right is that they’re in financial trouble. That means they most likely spent too much (big surprise, right?) and are now looking to get funds without hurting their precious programs that put them under in the first place. It’s a vicious cycle.

    No, they shouldn’t have to pay the $50. Just like those without disabilities don’t pay for normal parking spot. This is a perfect example of government running amok.

    • USArmyCombatMedic

      Just an FYI: The term “amok” isn’t what you think it is. According to Merriam-Webster. “amok” is defined as “a murderous frenzy that has traditionally been regarded as occurring especially in Malaysian culture”.

      • Danielle

        Grammar Police: According to Urban

        1. Those who seek to have correct English written online. They are not opponents of free speech, or 1337. They merely wish that the fundamentals of English are withheld. They will correct bad Grammar and Spelling, and flame the use of ridiculous, Chav, MSN inspired abbreviations such as ‘wuu2’. They are in full support of 1337, and support net slang.

        2. annoying trolls on forums like youtube and yahoo answers who just LOVE to ostracize those whose hands may have slipped while typing on their keyboard.

  • Allan Wafkowski

    I have seen perhaps 3 people who really needed their handicap parking permits.
    most often the driver jumps out of the car, runs into a store and comes out hauling a load of bags. If you can get a doctor to write a note you can get preferential parking. Let’s do away with such nonsense.

    • Shayne

      While you are correct that it of often abused, not everyone with a disability have leg problems. Some have breathing issues that make it dangerous for them to walk too far. Some have vision issues. It’s just not always apparent what someone’s disability is. I guess I’m “lucky” that my disability is more physically pronounced.

  • Amber Elizabeth Holbin

    That is just sick and wrong. Yea let’s get the money from those who already have next to nothing. How about looking elsewhere for the money, say the upper management types who make over 100k a year.

    • USArmyCombatMedic

      Disabled doesn’t mean “poor”.

    • Hank

      “How about looking elsewhere for the money, say the upper management types who make over 100k a year.”
      How about getting rid of assistance for illegal aliens and other worthless welfare programs before raising taxes on anyone!
      Enough of this government theft!

      • SUSANM


      • Lunch Lady


  • boregard9

    It is a disgrace. the NJ city council is following the lead of the School officials, saying “life is not fair”.

  • Bartholomew Harte

    Mentally Handicapped @ City Hall,the whole bunch!!!Shameful!

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