Stories indexed with the term ‘parking contract’

Washtenaw County 2014-17 Budget Adopted

The Washtenaw County board of commissioners has adopted the 2014-2017 general fund budget, an unprecedented long-term document that some commissioners believe will improve strategic investments and organizational stability. At their Nov. 20, 2013 meeting, commissioners made several amendments, but did not substantively change the originally proposed budget submitted by county administrator Verna McDaniel. Initial approval had been given at a six-hour meeting on Nov. 6, 2013. The Nov. 20 meeting lasted about two-and-a-half hours.

The $103,005,127 budget for 2014 – which represents a slight decrease from the 2013 expenditures of $103,218,903 – includes putting a net total of 8.47 full-time-equivalent jobs on “hold vacant” status, as well as the net reduction of a 0.3 FTE position. The recommended budgets for … [Full Story]

DDA Parks 5 More Years with Republic

Ann Arbor Downtown Development Authority board meeting (July 2, 2012): In its one action item, the DDA board approved a new contract with Republic Parking, which includes a roughly $1.5 million purchase of new automated payment equipment for several of the city’s parking structures. Of that amount, close to $1.3 million will be bought with a loan from Republic Parking to the DDA.

Parking Sign Underground Parking Garage

Parking sign at the new underground parking garage on South Fifth Avenue in downtown Ann Arbor. The view is looking to the southwest. (Photos by the writer.)

The DDA manages the city’s public parking system under a contract with the city of Ann Arbor – which stipulates that the city receives 17% of gross revenues from the system. The DDA in turn sub-contracts out the day-to-day parking operations to Republic Parking. The relationship between the DDA and Republic goes back to 2001. The contract ratified on July 2 is for five years through 2017, with two one-year options to renew.

For the first year of the contract with Republic, the DDA board will be led by Leah Gunn. She was elected board chair at the DDA’s annual meeting, which took place after the regular monthly meeting concluded. Outgoing chair Bob Guenzel, who will continue to serve on the board, was thanked for his service. Sandi Smith was elected vice chair.

One of the major tasks on the DDA’s work plan in the coming year will be to continue the Connecting William Street (CWS) planning effort. It’s a project the city council directed the DDA to undertake in early 2011 – to explore alternative uses for city-owned surface parking lots in the rectangle bounded by Division, William, Ashley and Liberty streets.

At its July 2 meeting, the DDA board got an update on that planning effort, which has reached the point of three draft scenarios for the five parcels in question. When the three draft scenarios are settled and shared with the public through an outreach process, a preferred scenario will be developed – not by selecting one of the three scenarios in its entirety, but in a “Mr. Potato Head” fashion, choosing features from each scenario on a parcel-by-parcel basis.

The study area of the CWS effort includes the top of the new underground parking garage, now dubbed the Library Lane parking structure – named after the new mid-block cut-through that connects Division Street and Fifth Avenue. [Despite the name, the Ann Arbor District Library does not own the garage or the lane.] The grand opening of the garage is set for Thursday, July 12 at 5 p.m. A significant number of the new spaces in the structure will likely be occupied by monthly permit holders who work for Barracuda Networks, a company that’s moving into the former Borders corporate offices on Maynard Street.

Also located in the CWS study area is the Ann Arbor Transportation Authority’s Blake Transit Center (BTC), which is set for reconstruction starting this fall. Michael Ford, CEO of the AATA, gave DDA board members an update on that construction project, which will see the center relocated from the Fourth Avenue side of the block to the Fifth Avenue side. Ford told the DDA board he hoped for a positive outcome on the BTC site plan at the city planning commission meeting on July 17, and at the city council’s Aug. 20 meeting. He hopes to break ground on the new BTC in September or October, with completion before the 2013 art fairs, which are held annually in July.

At its July 2 meeting, the board was also updated on some grant requests – one for a bike-sharing program and another for a transportation alternatives analysis study for the corridor starting at US-23 and Plymouth, extending southward to State and continuing to I-94. During public commentary, the board was also pitched the idea of supporting an online “tech bounty board” to match small technical projects with people who can do the work. [Full Story]

DDA Renews Republic Parking Contract

At its July 2, 2012 meeting, the board of the Ann Arbor Downtown Development Authority voted to renew its contract with Republic Parking for the management of operations for the city’s public parking system. The renewal is for five years through 2017, with an option to renew twice for a year each time. The renewal of the contract includes a five-year $1.5 million loan to the DDA from Republic Parking to cover upfront costs for installing new payment equipment.

The DDA has contracted with Republic Parking since 2001. The contract covers Republic’s costs, plus a $200,000 annual management incentive, of which $50,000 is discretionary. Over the last few years, the DDA board has consistently awarded $45,000 of that amount.

It’s the DDA … [Full Story]

Public Hearing Starts Without Aparkolypse

Ann Arbor Downtown Development Authority board meeting (Nov. 2, 2011): At a meeting that included no business requiring a vote, the Ann Arbor DDA board began a public hearing on possible parking rate increases for the city’s public parking system.

DDA public hearing

Deanna Relyea spoke to the Ann Arbor DDA board at the Nov. 2 public hearing on behalf of the Kerrytown District Association. (Photos by the writer.)

The hearing will continue at the board’s Dec. 7 meeting, after a Nov. 14 joint working session with the Ann Arbor city council, when the two bodies will discuss proposed increases. A vote by the DDA board on the rate increases would not come until January.

Around a half dozen people spoke at the initial opportunity for public comment on the proposed rate increases, most either downtown merchants or representatives of merchant associations. They were uniformly in support of one feature of the proposal – no extension of meter enforcement past 6 p.m. Extension of enforcement hours has been actively on the table for at least two years. Based on board discussion at Wednesday’s meeting, evening enforcement could eventually be implemented – but not for the current rate increase cycle.

Those who spoke at the initial part of the hearing were generally opposed to increasing rates, but also acknowledged the financial decisions the DDA faces. And some speakers put part of the blame for that situation on the city of Ann Arbor. Under a new contract, the city of Ann Arbor now receives 17% of gross public parking revenues, which could otherwise be put back into the parking system, reducing the pressure to raise rates. Under the contract, the DDA operates the system, and is responsible for ongoing maintenance. Rates are controlled by the DDA in consultation with the city council.

The details of proposed parking rate increases were first announced towards the end of last week, most of which would be implemented starting in September 2012. Some increases would be implemented starting in February. [.pdf of DDA proposed parking rate changes]

Highlights of the changes to be enacted in September 2012 include predominantly $.10/hour increases: hourly structure parking rates would increase from $1.10/hour to $1.20/hour; hourly parking lot rates would increase from $1.30 ($1.50 after 3 hours) to $1.40 ($1.60 after 3 hours;) hourly parking meter rates would increase from $1.40/hour to $1.50/hour; monthly parking permit rates would increase from $140/month to $145/month.

The board’s meeting included the usual range of reports, including the quarterly financial numbers and parking report, and updates on the Fifth Avenue underground parking garage construction as well as the most recent development in the Nov. 8 sidewalk millage ballot proposal.

At the city council’s Oct. 17 meeting, the council passed a resolution clarifying how the millage proceeds would be used inside the DDA’s geographic district. And at the DDA’s Wednesday meeting, mayor John Hieftje gave the clearest public indication to date that he does not want to take a position on the sidewalk millage, saying that residents would have to “figure it out for themselves.”

The board also held a closed session, under the provision of the Michigan Open Meetings Act that allows such a session to discuss the meaning of legal advice contained in a written document protected under attorney-client privilege.  [Full Story]

City Accepts Prior Payment for Excess TIF

At the May 31, 2011 session of its meeting that had begun two week before, on May 16, resumed briefly on May 23, only to be immediately recessed, the Ann Arbor city council agreed to accept prior contributions of the Ann Arbor Downtown Development Authority toward city of Ann Arbor projects as payment for the city’s share of excess tax increment finance (TIF) capture that the DDA has received since 2003.

At a special meeting on Friday, May 20, the DDA had calculated that a total of $1,185,132 should be returned to taxing authorities that levy property taxes in the downtown district. The city’s share of that is $711,767. The council’s resolution states that the acceptance of prior contributions to city … [Full Story]

DDA Finalizes Its Side of Parking Deal

Ann Arbor Downtown Development Authority special board meeting (May 27, 2011): At a special DDA board meeting held at noon on Friday, board members voted to give final approval to a contract under which the DDA would continue to manage the city’s public parking system. The vote was unanimous among the 10 board members who attended. Absent were Gary Boren and Newcombe Clark.

Roger Hewitt John Hieftje Leah Gunn

(Left to right): DDA board members Roger Hewitt, mayor John Hieftje, and Leah Gunn at the special May 27 DDA board meeting. (Photos by the writer.)

The financial part of the contract calls for the city to receive 17% of gross revenues from the public parking system, and would have an initial term of 11 years, with one renewal option for another 11 years. That would end the contract in 2033, which coincides with the DDA’s currently established endpoint.

The contract includes a new underwriting clause for the DDA’s fund balance. Key features of that clause are: (1) it’s applicable only through 2016; (2) it’s triggered if combined DDA fund balance fall below $1 million; (3) the trigger is evaluated based on the annual audit of DDA books in September or October, for the previous fiscal year; (4) if underwriting were triggered, it would take the form of reducing existing payments that the DDA makes to the city; (5) the city’s liability is limited to $1 million annually and $2 million cumulatively; and (6) any money the city is deprived of through this underwriting would be restored to the city, at whatever point the DDA’s cumulative fund balance reaches $4 million.

After brief deliberations, the DDA board voted unanimously to ratify the contract, which now includes the underwriting clause. [.pdf of ratified draft contract]

With that vote, the DDA board also approved a new contract clause that specifies how the DDA board and city council will handle a contractually required consultation between the two groups, in conjunction with parking rate changes. The consultation by the DDA will now be a required agenda item at annual joint working sessions between the DDA board and the city council. Currently, the DDA proposes rate changes, which are automatically enacted, unless the city council vetoes them. The new contract stipulates that the DDA would have sole authority to set rates.

The city council may now ratify the parking contract on Monday, May 31, which would help settle part of the city’s revenue issues in its fiscal year 2012 budget. It would allow the council to finalize its budget on that same evening. [For additional background, see Chronicle coverage: "Ann Arbor Council Defers Action Again"]

Councilmembers Sabra Briere (Ward 1) and Stephen Kunselman (Ward 3) sat in the audience of the DDA’s May 27 meeting. On May 31, the contract could face stiff opposition from at least those two, and possibly other councilmembers. After the DDA’s May 27 board meeting, Kunselman characterized the underwriting clause to The Chronicle as a “no-layoff clause for the DDA.”

Another lingering DDA issue that could result in discussion not just by the Ann Arbor city council – but also by the Washtenaw Community College board of trustees, the Washtenaw County board of commissioners, and the Ann Arbor District Library board – is the return of excess TIF capture by the DDA. [Full Story]

Ann Arbor DDA Ratifies Parking Contract

At a special board meeting of the Ann Arbor Downtown Development Authority, held at noon on May 27, 2011, the DDA board voted to give final ratification to a contract under which the DDA would continue to manage the city’s public parking system. The vote was unanimous among the 10 board members who attended. Absent were Gary Boren and Newcombe Clark.

At a special meeting held last week on May 20, the DDA board had initially ratified the contract, with a contingency that the city of Ann Arbor would provide an amendment that adequately underwrites DDA fund balances. Then at a Wednesday, May 25 meeting of two “mutually beneficial” committees – one from the city council and one from the … [Full Story]

To Be Continued: Ann Arbor Council

The gathering of Ann Arbor city council members tonight – May 23 – counts not as a separate meeting, but rather as a continuation of the same meeting the council began on May 16. Because of issues that could remain unresolved, councilmembers are likely to recess tonight’s meeting as well, to be continued on Tuesday, May 31 – after the Memorial Day holiday.

This is a preview of the council’s continued meeting, which starts at 7 p.m. in council chambers at city hall. Topics that council might address include excess TIF (tax increment finance) capture in the Ann Arbor Downtown Development Authority district, a new parking contract with the DDA, and possible amendments to the FY 2012 budget. Factors that might play a role in council’s deliberations include alternative calculations of the excess TIF capture, and issues of control regarding components of the proposed parking contract – such as giving the DDA sole authority to set parking rates. [Full Story]

DDA: Parking, Excess Taxes Still Not Done

Ann Arbor Downtown Development Authority special board meeting (May 20, 2011): A special meeting held by the board of the DDA on Friday was meant to give some final resolution to the DDA’s side of a new contract under which it would continue to operate the city’s public parking system.

Bob Guenzel, John Mouat, Sandi Smith, Russ Collins, DDA special board meeting

Left to right: DDA board members Bob Guenzel, John Mouat, Sandi Smith, and Russ Collins at the May 20 DDA special board meeting. Obscured from view between Guenzel and Mouat is John Hieftje. They were distributing the paper handouts with calculations of excess TIF revenues. (Photos by the writer.)

It was also intended to settle the matter of excess capture of TIF (tax increment finance) revenue in the DDA district – an issue raised by the city of Ann Arbor just before the DDA board had originally planned to vote on the new parking contract on May 2.

The board did vote on Friday to affirm a calculation by DDA staff that roughly $473,000 of excess TIF capture since 2004 would be divided among the following taxing authorities, which have a portion of their tax revenues captured in the DDA TIF district: Washtenaw County; Washtenaw Community College; and the Ann Arbor District Library.

Based on a representation at the special meeting by mayor John Hieftje – who has a statutory seat on the DDA board – the city of Ann Arbor is likely to agree to “forgive” the $711,767 in excess TIF capture that would be due to the city. More than that amount has effectively already been returned to the city, in the form of a roughly $0.5 million annual grant to the city to help make bond payments on its new municipal center, and a $1 million expenditure to demolish the old YMCA building, as well as other grants. In total, around $7.5 million has gone to the city, according to the DDA.

At Friday’s special meeting, the DDA board also voted to ratify its side of a new contract under which it would continue to operate the city’s public parking system. Among other features, the new contract would obligate the city of Ann Arbor to report regularly on how it is using public parking system revenues for street repair in the downtown, and how it is enforcing parking regulations downtown.

More controversially, the new contract would allow the DDA to set parking rates. Currently, the DDA forwards proposed rate changes to the city council, which can then veto the DDA’s proposal if it acts within 60 days. If the council does not act to block the rate change, the change is enacted. Although Hieftje said at the DDA board meeting he felt there was adequate support on the council to approve such a contract, there are currently at least five likely no votes on the 11-member council.

Also controversial is the exact percentage of gross revenues the city would receive from the public parking system. Before the issue of the excess TIF capture arose, the DDA board was poised to ratify a parking contract that would transfer 17% of gross parking revenues to the city of Ann Arbor’s general fund. At Friday’s special meeting, the resolution before the board dropped that number to 16%. Hieftje proposed an amendment to raise the figure to 17%. That amendment was attached to a contingency that the city council would provide a plan amendable to the DDA in which the city would “underwrite” the DDA’s fund balances. It was the 17% with a contingency that the DDA board passed.

So the special DDA board meeting did not settle with finality either the issue of the excess TIF capture or the DDA’s side of the parking contract. For the TIF capture issue, the relevant taxing authorities – especially the city of Ann Arbor – will need to affirm the solution that the DDA board approved.

For the parking contract issue, the DDA’s contingency means that the city council’s Monday, May 23 meeting – which is a continuation of its May 16 meeting, when it was supposed to approve the FY 2012 budget – will likely be recessed and continued again on May 31.

One possibility for how events would unfold is this: (1) May 23 – the city council ratifies the city’s side of the parking contract and provides the plan for underwriting DDA fund balances; city council also deliberates and amends FY 2012 budget but does not take a final vote on it; (2) May 24-27 – DDA schedules a special meeting to accept the parking contract contingency; and (3) May 31 – city council resumes the meeting started May 16 and previously continued on May 23, and approves FY 2012 budget. [.pdf of draft parking contract] [Full Story]

Ann Arbor DDA Calls Special Meeting

The Ann Arbor Downtown Development Authority board has called a special meeting for noon Friday, May 20, 2011 at the DDA offices at 150 S. Fifth Ave. At the board’s May 2 meeting, it had put off voting on a new contract with the city of Ann Arbor under which the DDA manages the city’s public parking system.

The board had been expected to vote on the measure at that meeting, but postponed it amid questions about the administration of the city’s ordinance on distribution of DDA TIF capture. [Chronicle coverage: "DDA Delays Parking Vote Amid TIF Questions"]

The delay in settling the parking contract has led to a delay in the Ann Arbor city council’s willingness to approve its fiscal … [Full Story]

Ann Arbor Council to Weigh Parking Deal

At a 7:30 a.m. Monday, April 11, 2011 meeting of two “mutually beneficial” committees – one composed of Ann Arbor Downtown Development Authority board members and the other made up of city councilmembers – a consensus was reached that the full city council should now give some direction on the new contract under which the DDA would continue to operate the city’s public parking system. The two committees agreed that a “resolution of instruction” should be put to a city council vote at the council’s April 19 meeting.

The contract will call for the city of Ann Arbor to be paid a percentage of the public parking system’s gross revenues. The two committees have been unable to reach a consensus on that percentage. So on April 19, the council will be presented with two options: (1) 16% in each of the first two years of a 10-year deal, and 17.5% in the remaining years – the 16-16-17.5 scenario, which is advocated by the city’s committee; (2) 16% in every year of a 10-year deal – a flat-16 scenario reflecting a compromise from an earlier DDA board position.

For additional details and history of the negotiations, see previous Chronicle coverage: “City, DDA Continue to Talk Parking, Taxes

On the council’s committee are councilmembers Carsten Hohnke, Margie Teall and Christopher Taylor. Serving on the DDA committee are Gary Boren, Russ Collins, Roger Hewitt and Sandi Smith. Monday’s April 11 meeting was attended by Smith and Teall in person, with Hewitt, Taylor and Hohnke joining by conference phone. Sue McCormick, public services area administrator for the city, also attended the meeting. [Full Story]

Column: DDA – The Sure Thing

In 1985, Rob Reiner made a movie called The Sure Thing, starring John Cusack as a college student who made a 3,000-mile journey on a break from school in order to meet up with a “sure thing” – a girl who didn’t need any convincing to have sex.

Given the movie’s plot, it was a little odd to hear a scene from it cited by an Ann Arbor city councilmember to bolster a budget argument.

Carsten Hohnke, who represents Ward 5 on Ann Arbor’s city council, used the “credit card scene” from that movie – without naming the movie or giving the broader context of the plot – during a meeting of two committees on Monday morning, April 4, 2011. Known as the “mutually beneficial” committees, one is composed of Ann Arbor Downtown Development Authority board members and the other is made up of city councilmembers.

To understand the reference to The Sure Thing scene, it’s useful to have some brief background on the city-DDA parking drama. Understanding that drama, in turn, leads to some interesting conclusions about the relationship between the city and the DDA, and about what city councilmembers might be willing to say to get what they want. [Full Story]

DDA Approves Parking Mgmt Incentive

At its March 2, 2011 meeting, the Ann Arbor Downtown Development Authority approved payment of $45,000 as a discretionary component of a management incentive for Republic Parking. While the city of Ann Arbor contracts with the DDA to manage the public parking system, the DDA in turn contracts with Republic to handle day-to-day operations. The DDA’s contract with Republic covers Republic’s expenses – roughly $5.8 million annually – plus pays Republic a “management incentive” of up to $200,000 per year. Of that amount, $150,000 is paid in monthly installments as a part of the contract, with the remaining $50,000 left to the discretion of the DDA board.

In making a recommendation to pay Republic $45,000 out of the maximum $50,000, a memo from DDA deputy director Joe Morehouse points to: (1) parking customer survey results that show 6-7% responses in the lower two scale points on a 5-point scale, and over 55% in the top two scale points; (2) an operating surplus that exceeded budget by $243,438; (3) independent facility cleanliness audit ratings of 93.7% – a slight increase over last year’s average of 93.4%; and (4) a dead ticket average of 1.61%, which is within the target of 1.75%, but more than last year’s 0.65%.

Mayor John Hieftje cast a vote of dissent on the approval of the incentive, as he has in previous years, but offered no comment at the board table on the issue.

This brief was filed from the DDA boardroom located 150 S. Fifth Avenue, Suite 301. A more detailed report will follow. [Full Story]