Dohoney signs parking lease; changes can be made

Jun 18, 2013

City Manager Milton Dohoney signed the parking lease agreement Tuesday afternoon that will bring a $92 million up-front payment to city coffers, but council may still make some changes to the agreement.

Tuesday, two Cincinnati council members - Vice Mayor Roxanne Qualls and Yvette Simpson - were circulating motions  asking the city administration to come up with a new plan for use of the $92 million in up-front money from the parking lease agreement.

One of the motions would spell out clearly that the city administration is to "minimize the use of parking lease funds" to balance the 2015 budget - something that has been a bone of contention among some council members. 

The other motion asks that the city administration provide council with at least four "alternative scenarios" that address the issues of hours of operation of parking meters, an issue that has been raised by neighborhood business owners and others. The present agreement has parking meters in effect from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. downtown and from 7 a.m. to 9.m. in neighborhoods. They asked the administration to "estimate the financial impact of each scenario on the upfront and annual payments" of the parking lease.

One of the motions asks the administration to develop a plan for use of the $92 million upfront payment which would "increase jobs, increase revenue to the city," raise the city's contribution to the troubled pension fund to 24 percent, "and present to council a plan that achieves a structurally balanced budget by 2016, 2017 at the latest."

Ever since last Wednesday, when the Ohio First District Court of Appeals ruled that the parking lease agreement and other ordinances passed under an emergency clause are not subject to referendum by the voters, some council members have been suggesting that the ordinance - which would turn the parking system over to the Port Authority to be run by private companies - be repealed or rewritten.