Chicago Parking Meters Bills City $13.5 Million For Disabled Parking

UPDATE: Mayor Emanuel says he’s not going to pay CPM’s $13.5 bill according to the Sun-Times.

At a press conference on Tuesday, Emanuel had some strong words about the subject.

“I just don’t write blank checks to companies that say that’s what we owe. I’m gonna be the taxpayer watchdog,” the mayor said Tuesday. “Now, they may say that’s what we owe. But, just because they submit it doesn’t mean that’s what we’re gonna pay. We’re contesting that right now in a series of discussions with the company.”

Here’s the Sun-Times story.

Original post below.

It’s the gift that keeps on giving.

When the Daley administration pushed through the contract to privatize Chicago’s parking meters in just 72 hours, three years ago this month, critics warned of the unforeseen consequences of a deal which saw almost no scrutiny from the public and City Council members.

One of those expensive consequences can be seen in today’s  Sun-Times report that Chicago Parking Meters, LLC, the private firm which signed the 75-year lease to operate city parking meters for $1.16 billion in 2008 has recently submitted a bill to the city for $13.5 million.

Under the terms of the lease, CPM can bill the city for lost revenue due to an overabundance of drivers utilizing handicap license plates or disabled parking placards parking for free on metered streets.

CPM claims the company lost $17.9 million due to giving away free parking to those with handicap plates or placards. Under the formula outlined in the contract, the city is only allowed $4.4 million in these freebies. The city is on the hook for the balance.

The Sun-Times says Mayor Rahm Emanuel is contesting that number and the city believes the number is substantially lower. Sources tell this website the Law Department is currently negotiating with CPM on a lower amount.

As further testament to how one-sided the meter lease contract was crafted, the city has to rely on a survey of handicapped parking performed by CPM itself–not an independent third party auditor which could be better trusted to unbiasedly document drivers parking for free.

Here’s the Sun-Times full story, “Meter company sends city $13.5 million bill for disabled parking.”

13 Responses to Chicago Parking Meters Bills City $13.5 Million For Disabled Parking

  1. DoR Employee says:

    Expect free parking for HCP permits to vanish

  2. Tom says:

    Told ya so.

  3. What wass the method used to “estimate” the amount of HCP hours racked up? Like they’re not making enough money. Geez, when Rahm was running for office he made noises about terminating the parking lease deal. It was no “deal” for motorists…may e this is just more cacophony?

  4. DoR Employee says:

    The method is ‘simple.’

    Count the number of Cars with HCP plates or placards that are on meters each day.

    Multiply total number of vehicles with the total amount of a 8am to 9pm meter…eg: 19.50 a day per vehicle if rate = 1.50 per hour Meter…etc..

    Continue for unspecified number of days until Head of CPM likes the amount they are going to bill the city.

  5. DoR Employee says:

    I’m going to piss off some people here…But screw it:

    “State law long has allowed disabled people to park free all day in metered spots — a benefit that dates to when public transportation wasn’t handicapped-accessible and meters had to be fed with coins and fed again when the time ran out.”

    Since Public Transportation in this City is accessible, and the Park Magic Program was a success..

    Issue Park Magics to ALL people in the City Limits that get issued a HCP plate or Placard from the State of Illinois. They can Load the device with their Cell and Debit/CC. No Park Magic with a Illinois HCP plate or placard; Meter Ticket. Out of State HCP placard? No Free Parking if on Illinois Plated vehicle. Out of State HCP plates? 2 hours free parking only.

    Or the City is going to have to Exercise Home Rule Clause and Outlaw Free Parking for ALL HCP Plates/Permits.

  6. DoR Employee says:

    Damnit…double post

  7. The Parking Ticket Geek says:

    I got it!

  8. Pete says:

    I thought Park Magic went away? It’s far more profitable to ticket people for expired meters than to have them pay the meter remotely.

  9. Jarrett says:

    Boycott the meters!

    This is the only solution that will possibly get Laz to sell Chicago the parking meter contract back (unless you can prove fraud).

  10. DoR Employee says:

    Pete…the CPM people don’t get Dick if you get a Meter Ticket.

    The City had no Legal Right nor Legal Obligation to reimburse LAZ/CPM if the people that park on the meters (and don’t pay) (and don’t display a HCP plate/permit) and get a ticket.

    I couldn’t find an escape clause for that in the contract.

  11. [...] part of probably the worst deal in Chicago history, parking meters in Center Square will be going up another quarter next month to $1.75 an hour. [...]

  12. [...] part of probably the worst deal in Chicago history, parking meters in Center Square will be going up another quarter next month to $1.75 an hour. [...]

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