Tuesday, August 31, 2010

50-Year Parking Lease Agreement A Win-Win For Denison Parking

While most of the focus to date on Mayor Greg Ballard's extremely corrupt decision to award a 50-year lease for the City's parking meters and parking garages to his taxpayer-paid legal adviser's client, ACS, a partner in the deal with ACS, Denison Parking, stands to come out a big winner in the deal as well. Denison Parking currently owns and/or operates many of the parking garages and lots in downtown Indianapolis. Under the terms of the 50-year lease, parking rates for metered spots will double from 75 cents an hour for 2-hour parking to $1.50. It also extends the hours for metered rates an additional three hours during the week from 6:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. (to 10:00 p.m. in Broad Ripple) and allows for weekend parking charges as well. According to the IBJ's Cory Schouten, the deal could net ACS and its partners as much as $1.2 billion. Just what does the deal mean for Denison Parking?

To the extent it costs considerably more to park in metered parking spots, Denison Parking will more easily be able to justify increased rates for parking in its garages and lots, which means more profit for the company. Another provision of the 50-year parking lease deal ignored by the media is a provision that allows for a 50-cent increase in metered parking rates for each hour of parking in excess of two hours. Currently, many people park downtown for several hours at a time. Some downtown workers actually park on the street and feed the meters throughout their work shift. This is true of many of the workers at businesses along Massachusetts Avenue. A worker can park for $6 dollars during an 8-hour shift if he or she wants to feed a meter. An all-day parking spot in a parking garage will cost that same worker about $8. The higher rates for parking in excess of 2 hours will likely succeed in deterring workers from taking up on-street parking spaces that should be available to business patrons. That could force more people to park in the parking garages and lots, which means more money and profits for Denison Parking.

A common complaint you hear from people who frequent the downtown area is the number of bagged meters on any given day due to construction work, utility work, special events or convenience. Under the terms of the 50-year lease with the City, taxpayers will be required to reimburse ACS and its partners for revenues it loses when the City bags parking meters or otherwise prohibits parking in certain areas. The more bagged meters, the more revenues that are generated for Denison's parking garages and lots, at the same time ACS and Denison will be getting reimbursed for the lost on-street parking revenues. So as you can see, the 50-year lease deal is a win-win for Denison Parking.


Sean Shepard said...

I had heard that Denison might be a partner in this deal.

Absolutely that needs to go nowhere. Not only are we now talking about a monopoly on the meters but potentially a monopoly on downtown parking.

Any free market, pro-competition supporting Conservatives or Libertarians should oppose this.

Any Democrats desiring to look out for the regular folks should oppose it as well.

I am all for privatizing all kinds of things; but, it has to be done smartly and with an eye towards ensuring competition and market forces will be at work.

I thought Ballard had an economics degree? He of all people should understand supply and demand, competition and monopoly. I always try and give elected officials the benefit of the doubt; but, sometimes you are left with only believing they are either (a) corrupt and/or subject to undue influence (b) stupid or (c) ignorant. I usually go with C but sometimes wonder who has pictures of whom doing things they don't want their spouse to know about.

Gary R. Welsh said...

Tell that to your fellow Libertarian on the council, Sean. He appears to have been bought off by the enemy based on his recent votes. So much for having a Libertarian voice on the council. Coleman has turned out to be a fraud. Ballard is the most corrupt mayor in modern day Indianapolis history. The sad thing is the media in this town is an accomplice to most of his corrupt deals, constantly padding him on the back for a job well done while he runs the pole up the asses of average taxpayers over and over again.

Sean Shepard said...

Not sure how we jumped from the Parking deal to Ed Coleman; but, I'll bite.

I don't expect anyone to get it right 100% of the time. And even if I did, my 100% right is going to be different than yours or Pascal's or Think Again's or Melyssa's.

I'll take Coleman's voting record from the past 12-24 months over any of the other councilors. Besides the water deal, what else was there? And, is he getting proper credit for all of the stuff you think he gets/got right?

As for Ballard. I might think he is naive and maybe easily manipulated by "experts and advisors"; but, I just don't buy that he is intentionally corrupt. But, I've gotten burned before giving people too much credit or trusting them too much.

Gary R. Welsh said...

Sean, People mistake Ballard's social awkwardness and poor speaking abilities with sincerity. I learned first hand that the man is a complete phony of the worst order. His own staff makes fun of him behind his back. He's consumed with all of the freebies of the office (free sports and concert tickets, gifts, foreign junkets, free meals, you name it). The guy is like a pig at the trough and a sloppy one at that.

There have been a number of votes where Coleman's vote was needed and he gave it up when he didn't need it. The utility transfer deal was the biggest deal of this administration. It's like saying I shouldn't be upset at my congressman for voting for Obamacare because he's been with me on most of the other issues. In addition, Ed's a really lazy councilor who spends little time studying the issues. The people who he has lashed out at are the very people he needed to have any semblance of public support. I think he's an embarrassment to the Libertarian Party, and I've heard that from a number of your fellow Libertarians, who have the harshest opinions of him.

Sean Shepard said...

Regarding the water deal. It was less than perfect, no doubt but don't think for an instant that Coleman didn't consult with A LOT of people before deciding which direction would be worse.

NOW. *IF* you had 2 or 3 or 4 Libertarians on the council OR a 14-14-1 breakdown where the L was the deciding vote, you might see the ability to get more things done or help demand improvement to deals like the water company one.

As you've done a great job pointing out, the council is stocked full of people who think government is wonderful and who depend on it for their very sustenance. We need some folks who rightly understand that government is force used in the negation of liberty.

Ed may be a little uncouth at times; but, he has a heart of gold and I would challenge the premise that he doesn't explore a lot of these issues with people he trusts. BUT, keep in mind he's a regular guy with a young family and a real job with set hours. He also has a support team that are regular people, with jobs and families who aren't paid full-time to do party or other political business.

I don't know for sure since I haven't talked to him about these; but, I'm guessing he's a reliable no vote on the CIB budget AND any kind of 50-year monopoly on downtown parking. I agree with his vote on the Water deal even though the water deal could have been much better - "PLAN C" wasn't an option he was presented with. Voting against it would just have been construed as some kind of affirmation that the city should be owning and running it.

Gary R. Welsh said...

Sean, I repeatedly said I supported the transfer of the utilities to Citizens Energy; just not with all of the strings attached--namely, a half billion dollar public works spending plan financed on the back of the ratepayers, and the continued operating agreements with Veolia and United Water, which ensure that neither utility will be run efficiently regardless of whether it's owned by the city or Citizens Energy.