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Donors Pick Up NATO Parking Tab

Private donors will foot the bill for the hefty parking bill sent to the city after the NATO summit.

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Donors Pick Up NATO Parking Tab

Victoria Coleman

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Here's one parking bill Mayor Rahm Emanuel can put in the paid column.

Private donors, not taxpayers, will pay a hefty tab sent to the city by Chicago Parking Meters LLC for lost meter revenue during the NATO Summit, according to the Chicago Tribune.

The estimated $65,000 bill was factored into the host committee's budget, a city spokeswoman told the publication, and some of the $36.5 million in private donations will help fund the tab.

This isn't the city's first request from the company that owns Chicago's parking meters.

Earlier this month, Chicago Parking Meters LLC asked for $22 million to cover parking for cars that displayed disabled placards or license plates. The bill, sent May 17, is in addition to two existing tabs Emanuel already said he plans to fight.

The company said earlier this year the city owes $14 million from money supposedly lost when street repairs and festivals took meters out of service. Before that, the city already was fighting a $13.5 million claim over free parking given to those with disabled parking rights.

All three bills total close to $50 million.

Though many questioned whether taxpayers would wind up paying the price for the parking compensation, Mayor Rahm Emanuel has repeatedly said otherwise. 
 
"They got another thing coming," Emanuel said of the company's previously-issued bills. "I sent them a letter back. And let me say this, in the envelope wasn't a check. I sent them back a clear and unambiguous message: No."
 
Emanuel’s chief financial officer reportedly called the way Chicago Parking Meters LLC calculated "adjustments" to make up for parking spaces taken out of service last year "legally and factually erroneous.”
 
City officials are moving to change the state law limiting free disabled parking and reduce time that metered spaces are out of service in hopes of lowering future bills. 

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