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From the desk of Mary Ann Smith


From the 48th Ward email update:
Parking Meter Lease Gives City Major Financial Boost
The recently approved 75-year lease of Chicago’s metered parking system will result in increased annual net revenue, a $600 million reserve and updated technology for the City. The full lease payment, more than $1 billion, will be paid upfront. Alderman Mary Ann Smith joined with 39 other Aldermen to approve the lease; five were opposed and five did not vote. Under the terms of the lease agreement, the City and City Council will maintain their rights to perform enforcement and to retain all enforcement revenues; revise meter rates, locations and hours of operation; add or eliminate parking spaces, and restrict metered parking in special circumstances. The leasing company will maintain and operate the system and pay for all capital improvements including technology upgrades. Hourly parking meter rates will increase over the next five years. In neighborhoods such as the 48th Ward, rates will go from $0.25-$0.50 per hour to $1 per hour in 2009. Planned annual increases will bring this to $2.00 per hour in 2013. Parking will continue to be free for people with valid disabled parking placards or plates. “The deal is a good one for the City and the people of Chicago,” Alderman Smith said in explaining her vote. “Seventy-five million will go into the human infrastructure fund and be used for social services; $325 million will help provide budget relief, and the majority, $600 million, will go into the reserve fund. By having a strong reserve, the City’s bond rating remains high.” Plus, our annual return on this fund will be approximately $30 million per year which is significantly higher than the $18 million per year the City was netting on parking meter revenues. The downside – the increase in parking meter rates – probably would have taken place even if the lease had not gone through.”


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