Could an Alternative Bid Method Be Used?

City Council will now have the $452 million offer from JP Morgan/LAZ Parking in front of them and have to consider the short-term and long-term impacts and the foreseeable and the unforeseeable consequences of the lease proposal. They have to think of what the proposed rate increases will do to the City’s business community in particular.

They, like the Mayor and other City officials, are probably surprised at how high the final bid came in and that it was well above the $300 million the Mayor said was needed to retire the Parking Authority’s debt and get the pension funds to 50% funded under the terms of Act 44 of 2009. Much of the debate will be centered around what to do with the overage.

Realizing the balancing act that had to be made to satisfy parkers, pensioners, City residents, City businesses, etc. perhaps the City should have employed a different bidding method: set the price to lease the parking system for the $300 million amount, but have the firms specify what would happen to parking rates under their proposal. Then the City could have selected the firm with the lowest impact on rates would have won the bid. The City’s debt and pension issues would have been satisfied and the impact on parking rates would have been less severe.

The discussion on how to soften the blow of rates and how to resist the numerous demands on how to spend the "extra" money will be quite interesting.