Torres administration’s proposal to end parade subsidies rejected by council | Paterson Times

Torres administration’s proposal to end parade subsidies rejected by council


A measure introduced by mayor Jose “Joey” Torres’ administration to end subsidies to parades was rejected by the city council on Tuesday night after dozens of people connected to the Dominican Day Parade protested outside City Hall.

The measure sought to replace the existing ordinance that was put in place last year. Under that law, parade organizers would gradually take on 40-percent of the security and clean up expenses associated with their parade over a three-year period.

This year, the organizers had to pay 30-percent of the cost. However, due to financial problems being faced by the city, Torres wanted to avoid paying the city’s share for the parade costs. This year the city is to cover 70-percent of public works and police expenses.

Subsidies are “no longer economically feasible,” read the ordinance that was before the council for consideration.

Prior to 2015, organizers did not pay for police and public works, which sometimes amounted to hundreds of thousands of dollars. For example, in 2013 the Dominican Day Parade cost the city $106,000 in police and public works expenses, said officials at the time.

Organizers of the parade point out the processions bring thousands of tourists to the city every year. Many of those tourists patronize local businesses and stimulate the local economy.

“It is an event that brings over 25,000 people to this city and with those people there comes money – money that is spent in businesses throughout this city especially in the downtown area,” said Joel Ramirez, spokesman for the Dominican Day Parade, prior to the council’s rejection of the measure.

Ramirez described the measure to end the subsidies that both the city and organizers agreed to last year as a “moratorium on free speech.”  He was with a group of about 50 protesters, who rallied outside of the City Hall building and packed the council chambers in protest against the measure.

The ordinance died on the council floor for lack of a motion on Tuesday night.

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  • Yogi Zuna

    So here we have Paterson, a city with 150,000-160,000 people, acting like they are a huge metropolis that must have a parade for every racial group. No wonder this city will never get it's finances in order, they do not have the mental maturity to do so. One thing is perfectly clear, and that is the state will eventually take over, so get ready for it and do not be surprised when it happens.

    • Dave Cubby

      Nail on the head. Perhaps it would not be fair to immediately halt the funding (some groups have already had their parades subsidized), but measures should be taken to put a stop to it beginning in 2017. They can always bring them back in better times, and I would support that 100%. Celebrations of culture can bring people into Paterson at little expense to the city if done correctly. It might not even be necessary to shut down the parades if the organizers just involve the community in planning and fundraising to make up for the cost. I wonder why the Greater Paterson Chamber of Commerce doesn't get more involved.

  • Plumber

    the organizers of this parade should be ashamed of themselves forcing this agenda on a broke city, they (organizers) don't care, went out to city hall to protest like little winning babies, and the city council slipped it through base on a lack of a motion, but the city council has no conscious idea the financial troubles the city's has, wasteful money on a parade that Paterson will not benefit on. but the city government doesn't care next year when there's no money again they'll raise taxes again and again etc. they should get rid of all parades they are nothing but disasters, you have just several floats, loud music, cars burning rubber, motorcycles riders acting a fool, people in the crowd smoking weed and drinking, and then the night time activities where all the parade participant's then believes the law doesn't applied and they go of the hook, good way to show off Dominican pride, and that goes for all of these useless parades, they should halt all of them period. the city should put on a city wide DPW parade with all their workers equipped with brooms and shovels cleaning up every street in Paterson, and little pants torres as the band leader twirling the baton, that would be nice.