Cincinnati's City Manager announced in a memo Friday that the Administration is looking for a private company to come in and take over management of the city's parking services.
While the city would maintain ownership and a share of profits, whoever wins the bid would operate and maintain all of the city's parking meters and most of the city's garages and surface lots.
The City Administration argues a third party can invest in technology more efficiently and the partnership would provide a source of immediate funding for other city budget priorities. The city manager argues privatization could create a long term revenue stream while avoiding a tax hike or cutting services.
"I'm of course going to await more details but my first reaction is this might be penny wise and pound foolish," City Councilman P.G. Sittenfeld told FOX19 Friday.
Sittenfeld questions whether privatizing parking would just be another short-term budget fix.
"Cincinnati needs to achieve a structurally balanced budget and not keep depending on one time sources," he argued.
The Administration cites cities like Chicago and Indianapolis as models to study ‘best practices and lessons learned'.
"In other cities, this has made parking more expensive for citizens and this is right now a steady revenue stream for the city," Sittenfeld said.
The City Administration says they would require the winning bidder to interview current parking system employees and try to find the rest jobs in other city departments.
Friday a representative from ASFCME, the union that represents those workers, told FOX19 they are ‘adamantly opposed to any privatization of public services'.
"I would say let's look at how we can create a revenue stream and then do it ourselves so it's an even more powerful revenue stream while still keeping the rates at a reasonable level," Sittenfeld argued.
AFSCME will also have the opportunity to bid on the work, going head-to-head with private bids. If the administration finds a partner to run the parking system it will present the agreement to council.
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