Friday, March 21, 2014

Parking Meter "Windfall" - Profit - Or - Loss ?

I read and see reports of the jump in revenues the City collected from ParkIndy last year; amounting to some $3 Million (click here for one).  ParkIndy is the entity that we sold our parking meter assets to three years ago.  I'll just remind readers that the City could have invested $8 M to install the fancy new credit card reading meters itself, and keep ALL the money.  But, instead our Mayor Ballard and his cohorts wanted to sell it out from under us.

The news accounts sound good - the City's portion of parking meter proceeds amounted to $1.5 M in 2011, $2.5 M in 2012, and now $3 M in 2013.  The ParkIndy folks kept $3.5 M, $5.2 M, and $5.7 M, in the respective years.

Then the reports go on to say that in 2010, the last year the City ran the meters, the fees generated only $339,165. 

Nope.  Not correct.  Must be a misprint in the City's press release.

I gathered the actual numbers from the last few years when the City ran the meters from the City's budget ordinances.  Here's how the parking meter revenues and expenses actually worked.

In the 2008 budget, the City expected to take in roughly $2.4 M from the meters, $1.2 M from fines and penalties, and $90,000 from miscellaneous sources.  They budgeted $1.65 M for the operation. 

Net profit from meters: $2.0 M. 

That allowed them to transfer $0.4 M to the City General Fund and $1.75 M to the IMPD General Fund.  2008 city budget (see page 36-37 and 58 of pdf; parking meter fund)

In the 2009 budget, the City expected to take in $4.35 M total, while budgeting $1.69 M for operations. 

Net profit: $2.65 M. 

Again, the City General Fund and the IMPD General Fund were beneficiaries of the profit.  2009 city budget (see pages 20 and 53 of pdf; parking meter fund)

In the 2010 budget, the City expected $4.2 M gross and $1.69 M expenses. 

Net profit: $2.5 M. 

City General Fund and the IMPD General Fund both were recipients of the profit.   2010 city budget (see pages 22 and 56 of pdf; parking meter fund)

For the 2011 budget, the City expected $4.2 M gross and $1.6 M expense. 

Net profit: $2.6 M. 

Since they were also draining the year end balance, the IMPD General Fund got a tidy $3.8 M that year.  2011 city budget (see pages 22 and 59 of pdf; parking meter fund)

The last three years that the City operated the meters they saw a total profit of $7.75 M.  Now, after parking rates have doubled, the City got $7.0 M from ParkIndy over the last three years.

We are not privy to the profit to ParkIndy, but their portion of the revenues for the past three years total $14.4 M.

As was clear when Mayor Ballard sold off our asset, ParkIndy was destined to be the huge winner.  As for us taxpayers, we are still catching up to the profit we saw when it cost us half as much to park.

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