Aldermen: Private Parking Company Could Come Out Ahead Under Revised Deal

Some legislators say Chicago Parking Meters LLC could actually come out ahead under mayor's proposal

Several Chicago aldermen are taking a close look at Mayor Rahm Emanuel's revised deal with the private company that manages the city's parking meters and wondering aloud if it's the best deal the city can get.

In fact, Ald. Scott 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.

Emanuel last week 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.

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.

Ald. Bob Fioretti (2nd) said he and his colleagues have to make sure they get the best deal possible.

"I don’t think anyone can take the word of the city at this point," he said. "We have seen time and time again, they have thrown out red herrings or misdirected us."

Emanuel, who attended a police graduation on Wednesday, did not take any questions from the media and left through a side door to avoid the press.

Aldermen who belong to the Progressive Reform Coalition questioned why the mayor’s revised deal has already received the signatures of the city attorney and CPM’s attorney before a city council vote.

"That cavalier attitude, it’s essentially saying, 'We already signed the deal, so you aldermen need to line up again,'" said Waugespack. "That’s the same thing that happened in 2008, and all the aldermen need to better be aware of that fact.”

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