Final public hearing on Cincinnati parking lease proposal

Feb 27, 2013

Cincinnati’s Planning Commission is scheduled to consider the city manager’s proposal to lease some parking facilities Friday at its regular meeting. City Council could vote on the plan next week.

There was a final public hearing last night with about two-dozen speakers offering their thoughts, and all but four were opposed to the proposal.

Tabitha Woodruff is with the Ohio Public Interest Research Group. She said the organization is happy the city has shared detailed information about the lease agreement.

"We are still skeptical about the proposal itself and the private half-century monopolies it could create in our city. As we feared it provides a short-term solution to a long-term budget problem, raises hours and rates on citizens, and has the potential to incur high transaction costs," Woodruff said. "We’re encouraged however by the selection of a public entity, the Port Authority, and by numerous proposed provisions of the lease intended to insure the city maintains control of details like rates and hours."

Others speaking against the lease were business owners and neighborhood representatives who are worried about the potential for high parking meter rates.

Ozie Davis of Avondale was in the minority of the speakers.

"I’m here tonight to ask for your support of the city manager’s parking meter proposal," Davis said. "This proposal helps the city more than hurting it. And inherent in any that leases a city asset there will be shortcomings."

The manager’s parking proposal would lease some city-owned lots and garages and all parking meters to a partnership involving the Greater Cincinnati Port Authority and four other companies.

Cincinnati would use money from the plan to stabilize its budget through 2015 and to fund several economic development projects.