Hoboken councilman makes push to regulate bar crawls

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HOBOKEN -

A Hoboken councilman is pushing to regulate bar crawls so taxpayers don't have to foot the bill for the local parties.

Events like LepreCon and SantaCon bring tens of thousands of visitors to Mile Square City each year. Taxpayers have been paying for the massive and costly cleanup efforts for years.

Hoboken Councilman Mike DeFusco says it's time for businesses to open up their cash registers and pay for the service.

"By all accounts, we're looking at over $100,000 just in policy and environmental service cleanup alone...and that's not fair to taxpayers," he says.

DeFusco introduced an ordinance during last Wednesday's City Council meeting to make sure taxpayers don't get left paying for the city's two most popular bar events, LepreCon and SantaCon.

He wants pub crawl promoters and participants to register in advance with the city, and provide the city with either their own cleanup and security plans or reimbursement for all costs.

Not everyone is one board. City Councilwoman Emily Jabbour voted against introducing the ordinance, saying she's concerned about changes not getting vetted by city attorneys. Her other concern is how the ordinance is perceived.

In a statement she wrote: "Hoboken residents want fewer events that encourage binge drinking, not more. This ordinance sends the wrong message. Further, the idea that this ordinance can offset the costs with "con" events is not accurate. Last weekend's LepreCon cost the city of Hoboken $86,00o. This ordinance sets a fine of $2,000, not even close to covering the cost, and that assumes that the ordinance is enforceable."

Hoboken Mayor Ravi Bhalla took to Facebook to address the proposed ordinance.  He wrote: "We've made it a priority to partner with Hoboken PD over the past year to reduce the impact of bar crawl events, and I'm grateful to Police Chief Ken Ferrante and all law enforcement personnel for helping ensure a much calmer day compared to previous..."

The next reading for this ordinance is later this month. It could go up for vote at the end of the month.

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