To sell the plan, the city spent nearly $250,000 on an independent analysis of the proposed changes to show Chicago comes out slightly better than the original estimates. Charlie Wojciechowski reports.
The City Council finance committee on Monday approved Mayor Rahm Emanuel's revised deal with the private company that manages the city's parking meters.
The vote came after two Chicago aldermen challenged the deal, questioning whether it was the best the city could get.
Ald. Scott Waugespack and Ald. Brendan Reilly offered a substitute plan that would break up the parking meter revision into two parts: the "true-up" settlement and the extended hours. The committee denied the challenge in a 14 to 5 vote stating an independent analysis of the true-up deal is a better deal for the city.
Ald. Waugespack (32nd) said his staff has been crunching numbers and said the private company, Chicago Parking Meters LLC, could actually come ahead in the deal.
Waugespack estimates CPM will lose $7.4 million by giving up Sunday meters in many neighborhoods. However, by extending the hours in River North by three hours and one hour in other areas, Waugespack estimates that will be a $9.4 million dollar gain for CPM.
The city disputes those numbers and says CPM will lose $1 million dollars each year in this trade off.
Waugespack said he believes he knows what the motivation is behind the free Sunday aspect.
"It’s about politics; it’s not about the bottom line for taxpayers for the city," he said.
Emanuel last month introduced to the City Council a revised agreement to the city's 75-year deal with CPM. Under that plan, most areas of the city would return to free parking on Sundays in exchange for extended hours the rest of the week. Emanuel also said there would be $1 billion in savings over the life of the contract.
"To be very clear," Ald. Reilly (42nd) said, "one of the key components of making this free Sunday swap work is returning the 828 spaces to the operator in exchange for gaining back less-valuable parking lots, is that correct?"