Hoboken needs new vote on parking agreement so they can close on hospital sale; council to meet on Sunday

HOBOKEN – Mayor Dawn Zimmer called for a special City Council meeting on Sunday, Oct. 30 at 9 a.m. with the hope that at least five council members will vote to make a parking agreement between the potential new hospital owners and the city effective immediately.
The same resolution failed on Tuesday night.
The city is in the process of selling Hoboken University Medical Center to HUMC Holdco, a for-profit group from Bayonne Medical Center.
The new owners will not close on the hospital deal until the parking agreement is in place, officials said.
Zimmer has five allies on the council, but her four council foes said they disagreed with the parking agreement and wouldn’t vote for it.
Councilwoman Beth Mason, who voted against the agreement, said on Tuesday that she would explore the opportunity of putting the agreement out for a referendum to let the voters decide.
In 2007, the City Council voted to guarantee $52 million in bonds for the survival of the hospital after it faced closure due to its financial problems. Zimmer, who is a member of the Hoboken Municipal Hospital Authority (HMHA), a municipal board selling the hospital, has made it a major goal of her administration to relieve the taxpayers of the bond guarantee and sell the hospital.
City attorney Mark Tabakin said on Tuesday that the parking agreement had to be passed so the sale could go through because the hospital would not be able to meet payroll this week.
Louis Modugno, an attorney for the potential owners, said in a letter to city and hospital attorneys that since the HMHA “failed to provide the requisite Approval of the Parking Agreement prior to the closings” originally scheduled for Oct. 26, the buyers were not in a position to close on Wednesday.
The deal has already been approved by the state commissioner of health.
The 99-year parking agreement essentially continues to provide parking for employees at a rate of $65 per month in municipal garages after the city sells the hospital to HUMC Holdco. For the first three years,the employees will pay the city $45 per month to park. Employees are allowed to park for eight hours per day. The resident rate for 24 hours of parking is $185 per month.
If the hospital stops operating as such, the owners of the property would still get access to the midtown parking garage, but they would have to pay market rate.
For more coverage of this issue, keep reading HudsonReporter.com and see this weekend’s Hoboken Reporter. – Ray Smith

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