Higher fees predicted from privatizing city parking

CINCINNATI, OH (FOX19) - Cincinnati city officials are considering a proposal to lease the city's parking meters, garages and lots to a private company, but the plan is coming under fire by critics who say it could greatly increase parking prices.

City councilman P.G. Sittenfeld says its a bad idea, "A for-profit, outside Ohio company is going to come in. They're going to have broad latitude to jack the parking rates up dramatically, to increase the hours of enforcement so we might be saying no more free parking on Sunday or after 5:00 p.m."

Sittenfeld says the private company that wins the bid would also be allowed to write parking tickets, "I think parking tickets are going to go through the roof because frankly it's in their incentive to give more parking tickets. This company is driven by profits, not what's the healthiest thing for the vibrancy of the city and its core."

The potential impact on businesses also troubles mayoral candidate John Cranley, "Its going to drive business and people out of the city. They're going to have a negative experience if they get a ticket every time they go to Hyde Park Square. They'll drive business out of the city and people will just skip the city and go to the suburbs so I think it will have a very devastating impact on our neighborhoods, but also to the momentum downtown.

In our commitment to balanced news, we spoke to City Manager Milton Dohoney who has said that, "parking is not a core function of city government" and he says, "the 30 year lease would enable city hall to maximize a city asset in order to avoid raising taxes or cutting services to unacceptable levels."

The $40 million deal could help the city close a projected budget deficit, but critics say that's a one time fix and will do nothing to help balance the city budget in the years to come.