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Parking replacement funds need fix

May 2—TRAVERSE CITY — Parking companies in Traverse City may use some monetary tweaks as metropolis leaders look to maneuver the division from the Downtown Development Authority on to the town.

City commissioners lately agreed they need to re-examine how a lot depreciation prices Traverse City Parking Services pays right into a fund to ultimately substitute the town’s parking decks. It was one in all a number of dialogue factors throughout their research session this week as Nicole VanNess, who oversees TCPS because the DDA’s transportation mobility director, laid out the steps required to switch parking oversight from DDA to the town.

Currently, the town pays TCPS $825,000 to handle parking for the 12 months, paperwork present. That funding comes from three enterprise funds into which the town collects parking revenues. Like different enterprise funds, parking companies pays a slice into the town normal fund every year, totaling $1.9 million between 2018 and 2023. That charge dropped to five % in July 2023 for the present price range.

Those primarily come from parking meters, permits, storage charges and fines, VanNess mentioned. It’s a contractual settlement that has modified significantly since its 2003 begin, though the DDA initially took over parking administration for its district from the town in 1991.

Now, parking companies handles day-to-day operations all through the town, each inside the boundaries of the DDA, at metered zones round city, in residential areas the place parking is time-limited and at Northwestern Michigan College below contract, VanNess mentioned.

While parking companies manages the system, Traverse City itself collects all of the income and is finally accountable for the bills, in accordance with metropolis Manager Elizabeth Vogel.

The metropolis additionally owns all of the parking system’s property, from Hardy and Old Town garages to enforcement autos to meter gear and extra.

Maintaining these property, particularly the garages, is changing into costlier on a regular basis. VanNess referenced a current contract for some preventative upkeep tasks which can be alleged to be good for 5 years. That value $670,807.50 for the Hardy parking ramp and $329,290.50 for the Old Town parking ramp.

The metropolis pays for that work out of the identical parking cash surplus that, in idea, is meant to pay for a brand new parking ramp when one of many metropolis’s reaches the tip of its helpful life, VanNess mentioned.

Parking companies budgets every year to pay depreciation prices for every storage — $87,830 for Old Town deck, and $207,250 for Hardy deck, each for the price range 12 months that wrapped in 2023.

As of June 30, 2022, the parking fund had $8,600,900 available, in each money and $5 million in certificates of deposit, price range information reveals. In comparability, estimates put a parking storage for the town’s west finish at $32.4 million, together with a mixed-use element of housing and retail area.

VanNess agreed with Commissioner Tim Werner that these depreciation funds will not have the ability to do what they have been supposed to do — sock away sufficient cash over 50 years for a serious restore or replacement.

That’s probably as a result of the quantities being saved replicate an period when constructing a parking ramp value $9 million, VanNess mentioned.

“So I think we also need to consider a maintenance fund that is specific to these restoration and repairs, so we’re not having to budget for them three years, five years out,” she mentioned.

Parking charge will increase is likely to be crucial as nicely, since revenues are nonetheless beneath pre-pandemic ranges, VanNess mentioned. That displays the truth that many places of work nonetheless sit empty as workers work at home.

Transferring that call on to the town fee (or a subcommittee of its forming) would possibly result in extra “shrewd” selections on charges, Mayor Amy Shamroe mentioned.

Commissioners agreed they need to take a vote on the parking oversight concern at their May 20 assembly. City Manager Elizabeth Vogel instructed commissioners their resolving to terminate the contract would set off a 60-day clause. It would additionally set in movement some additional planning wanted to find out easy methods to fold the division into metropolis operations.

Meanwhile, DDA board members will meet Friday and talk about the switch of parking companies to the town, assembly supplies present. The execution of that switch is already assumed within the DDA’s draft price range, interim DDA CEO Harry Burkholder mentioned in a memo.

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