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Parking Meter Company Bills City for Street Closures

By Chuck Sudo in News on Dec 19, 2011 4:00PM

Image Credit: Seth Anderson

Last week Chicago Parking Meters, LLC sent the City a bill for $13.5 million in revenues they lost from motorists with handicapped parking placards parking for free in metered spots. Today our friends at The Expired Meter report the company also sent the City a bill for an extra $2.1 million in what they call "true-up revenue" related to street closures.

Our analogy comparing the parking meter deal to herpes becomes even more apt.

The Expired Meter has copies of the billing statements here (pdf) that show Chicago Parking Meters, LLC billed the City $533,290 in true-up revenue for 2009 and $1,658,036 for 2010. The problem is: few at City Hall have an idea what defines "true-up revenue." 32nd Ward Ald. Scott Waguespack said:

“Don’t let anyone say it (the meter lease) doesn’t affect them because this (money owed to CPM) becomes part of the budget. We knew it was coming and we knew it was part of the contract but didn’t do anything to prevent it.”

Because it's written in the apparently iron-clad contract, Chicago Parking Meters can bill the City whenever they close streets, motorists with handicapped parking placards use metered spots, or in instances where the City has to remove a meter box from the system — e.g. to make room for a bus stop; install a loading zone; or closing a street for an event. Since we don't see many new bus stops or loading zones being installed, we're assuming CPM is billing for street closures.

Under the terms of the deal, CPM may bill the City whenever metered spots are closed for more than six hours in a day or for six total hours over three consecutive days, above the annual allowance cited in the contract.