Fight Continues Over Chicago Parking Meter Deal

Attorney contends 75-year deal was illegal

The annual increases in Chicago's parking meter rates -- another one of which takes effect Saturday -- will be a thing of the past if a Chicago attorney has his way.

The 75-year, $1.15 billion privatization plan, approved by the City Council in December 2008, is illegal, says attorney Clint Krislov.

"One city council cannot bind future city councils," he explained Wednesday. 

Krislov said the deal unlawfully restricts future City Councils from making decisions about the number of meters on the streets, the rates, and what hours they're enforced.  All of that is currently decided by the private company, Chicago Parking Meters, LLC. 

"Other city councils have the right to make new laws and regulations and this binds other city councils in that respect," he said.

Nearly two months ago, the city of Chicago asked Circuit Court Judge Richard Billik to throw out Krislov’s lawsuit. Billik tossed out some portions of the suit, but allowed the meat of it to stand.

Krislov said he thought most people gave the case little chance of succeeding and is grateful that the suit will continue.

If the deal is overturned, the city would likely have to pay back the $1.15 billion already paid out by CPM.  Krislov said the city could conceivably finance the pay-out, but he's fighting to keep that from happening. 

Attorneys will meet with Billik again in March.

Beginning Saturday, parking rates in the Loop and the Central Business District will be a full $2 more than they were three years ago.  Meters in the Loop will cost $5 per hour.  In the CBD, they'll be $3 per hour.

In Chicago's neighborhoods, the meters will jump another quarter, to $1.50 per hour.

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