Tag Archives: Parking Meter Lease Deal
But today, in modern Chicago, you can add parking meters to Franklin’s adage.
Surprisingly, parking meters and taxes have combined in a particularly galling fashion.
Tribune columnist Eric Zorn tipped off The Expired Meter to this toxic combination on Tuesday when he pointed to a relatively new policy from Chicago Parking Meters, LLC to begin charging city and county parking taxes at the handful of metered parking lots across the city.
According to the Chicago Parking Meters website, the company had not been charging drivers the taxes (but paid them anyways) until they changed that policy this February and began passing on the taxes to drivers.
City of Chicago officials are telling the Chicago Tribune that they estimate the bill for the loss of parking meter revenue due to the recent NATO Summit to be around $65,000.
Who would have thought we’d still be talking about the Chicago parking meter lease deal nearly four years after the fact.
The Parking Ticket Geek joins John Williams on WGN Radio 720 AM Thursday afternoon at 2 PM to discuss how the meter lease deal continues to haunt the city.
Tune in 720 AM or stream WGN radio here.
Now they’re for it.
Getting rid of the privilege of parking for free at parking meters for most disabled drivers that is.
Originally, Illinois Secretary of State Jesse White and Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel were against a bill proposed by Illinois State Rep. Karen May (D-Highland Park), which would end free parking for most disabled drivers. For whatever reason White and Emanuel have had a change of heart according to the Sun-Times.
Perhaps for Emanuel at least, it was the $13 million bill that Chicago Parking Meters, LLC had sent City Hall due to the inordinate amount of people using handicap plates and disabled parking placards parking for free all day long at metered parking places.
No, it’s not in stunned awe on how wonderful the meter lease deal has been for Chicago and it’s constituents.
Unsurprisingly, the debacle that is Chicago’s parking meter lease deal has seemingly become the legendary cautionary tale on how NOT to do a privatization deal and especially not how to sell off a specialty public asset like a parking meter system.
Over $400,000 Invested In Meters Where No Cars Park
Nostalgic types might consider it a sad day when the last of Chicago’s old fashioned single head parking meters got replaced in late spring in a desolate section of the near South Side.
Chicago Parking Meters, LLC recently installed over 70 pay and display machines in June, after removing the city’s last remaining single head meters a few weeks previous. But the area, roughly bounded by Ashland & Damen, between 15th and 13th has plenty of spaces to park, but with no one actually parking there.
But perhaps what is most interesting is that CPM was forced to spend over $400,000 to install expensive, cutting edge parking meter pay boxes for several thousand metered spaces, in an area that will never generate enough revenue for CPM to ever see a return on their investment there.
But Indianapolis’ parking meter lease deal did squeak through the City Council, 15-14 Tuesday morning according to the city’s website.
Indy’s deal leases out 3700 metered spaces for 50 years for only $20 million up front. But the city will get to share in the revenues which, according to city estimates, will bring in $620 over the life of the lease. Indy’s contract, unlike Chicago’s relatively inflexible deal, does have the ability to opt out of the deal every ten years.
The main player in the lease deal is ACS, a company owned by Xerox, which makes up the majority stakeholder in a new entity to oversee the meter system called ParkIndy along with two smaller, local companies.
According to a recent story in the Southwest News-Herald, two Chicago aldermen have assisted constituent business owners with relocating pay boxes to other locations within ward where one assumed they’ll do less harm.
The article claims that 13th ward Alderman Frank Olivio and 23rd ward Alderman Michael Zalewski both have changed metered streets to non-metered streets on behalf of irate business owners. In one instance, a jeweler on 63rd Street complains their business was cut in half by the new meter rates and then goes on to brag how they were able to get the pay box taken off their block with the help of Olivio.
But, as Zalewski reminds us, the pay box has to go somewhere else.
But what businesses get saddled with metered parking after the box was taken off the previous street?
City, Meter Company Both Profit From Resumed Enforcement
With Chicago Parking Meters, LLC resuming meter enforcement again Monday, perhaps some mathematical insight will shed some light on the politics.
According to company sources, the new meter company sees enforcement as a key component of revenue.
CPM wants heavy enforcement so drivers are scared into feeding their meters. The reasoning is, logical motorists would prefer to pay a few bucks to the meter than risk a $50 expired meter ticket from the city.
When drivers feed their meters, it’s called compliance. The more people who comply (dropping quarters into meter pay boxes) the more revenue the company generates.
Sources claim that for fiscal year 2010, the company expected its enforcement efforts to increase compliance to a point that would add a cool $1 million to their bottom line. So, it’s not surprising the company wants to have their enforcement teams out on the streets ASAP.