IBJOpinion

Parking meter deal is boon for city

September 25, 2010
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IBJ Letters To The Editor

Mayor Greg Ballard has pledged to find cost-effective ways to provide essential city services. The proposed parking transaction with ACS is another example of the mayor streamlining government, maximizing the value of existing assets, and securing millions of dollars for infrastructure improvements.

Indianapolis’ parking meters are underperforming—to the detriment of our city’s taxpayers. Mayor Ballard’s proposal nets tens of millions in upfront capital, while preserving a net annual revenue stream of roughly $5 million for the next 50 years.

Also, by law, the proceeds from this proposal can only be spent on the infrastructure where the meters are located. In 2008, the road resurfacing budget for the entire county was $11 million. The streets where the meters are located are but a small fraction of all the roads in the county, thus, this $5 million will have a tremendous impact.

Many thoughtful critics have asked about how this deal restricts urban planning in the coming decades—the answer is, it doesn’t.

Because of the revenue stream, future mayors will have ample monies to pay for infrastructure improvements, changes to existing streetscapes, moving of meters, and other contingencies. Mayor Ballard could have taken all the money upfront, but he didn’t for two reasons:

• We already have substantial, unprecedented funds from the transaction with Citizens Energy Group.

• He wanted to leave significant funds for use by subsequent administrations.

It is not cost-effective for the city to issue parking-revenue bonds to do this on our own. Revenue bonds are issued based on past performance—the performance of our meters has been substandard for decades.

Finally, the city is responsible for the debt service if bonds are issued and the utilization, parking revenue and growth assumptions are crucial to any financing. If the parking system doesn’t reach the assumed revenue or expense targets, other funds from the city will be needed to the pay for debt service.

We welcome input from councilors, stakeholders and the public.

__________

Michael Huber
Deputy mayor for economic development
 

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  • Elected officials
    "Elected officials on both sides of the idea have figured out that this was an insider deal designed to make ACS wealthy while screwing over Indy taxpayers."

    Well, they are a little slow since every previous deal was an "insider deal."
  • ACS Shame On You
    I've read many articles regarding the downtown Indianapolis parking meter ordeal. I've read many articles concerning Affiliated Computer Services since the day they signed a contract with our FSSA welfare system in Indiana. I've worked for the State of IN for over 12 years. I've watched this ACS mentally torture their employee's, their managers use intimidation tactics, place and increase workloads on their employees that left it impossible to maintain. The stress factors that ACS has allowed their employees to endure is reprehensible. Plus a salary freeze for the lower end employee's.
    Companies that are successful have a solid foundation of ethics that do not stray. They keep their employees involved in decisions and progress; A part of the solution. Solid developing companies also affirm the worth of their work force and create moral boosters. Employees also love it when top officials visit their location on a regular basis. It sends a powerful signal when the leader comes to your workplace. It demonstrates that what you do matters.
    In the passed four years, I've not seen one top official visit. How pathetic is that?

    Companies that we want in our city and state, are companies with high ethical standards. Companies that value their employee's and thrive from diversity. Companies that have proven track records that have proven success rates.
    When good companies move into a city, they begin to set standards for other companies. Indianapolis should be looking at the cities of Seattle, Raleigh, Boston and mimicking their success. Which by the way does not include Affiliated Computer Services.

    Don't allow this ACS company to create any more damage to our city and state and to the people of Indianapolis. This company, Mayor Ballard, Gov Daniels has failed to act, profits being the main placard, to include kickbacks and special interests, is a crime against humanity, a crime against nature and a crime against God.
  • Unscrupulous ACS
    Mayor Ballard - WHAT A DISGRACE to our political system. A disgrace to the people of Indianapolis. ACS should new poster SYMBOL OF WHAT IS WRONG WITH OUR POLITICAL SYSTEM. We should make no distinction between the CEO and directors who committed this unethical proposal and the politicians who enabled them. The political ties that allowed this greedy company to rip off the public, not to mention its own employees.
    Where's the investigation?
    The financial mistakes that Ballard is making will affect peoples lives and their jobs and they should be held accountable for the risky actions. Affiliated Computer Services has no sense of National responsibility because, the only thing they care about is the bottom line. Like, how do you make a profit from the WELFARE system? How do you make a profit from FOOD STAMPS? When did social services become a "for-profit" agency?
    The truth is when the rich fail, the working middle class and poor come to their rescue but when the ordinary working people are in trouble, the rich pound the ordinary people 3 feet down.
    Corporate and government corruption is unfortunately beyond repair at this juncture. This in itself will just lead us all down a path spiraling toward socialism and the final chapter in complete economic ruin with a government run a muck.
  • Bid Rigging Is Illegal
    Bid rigging is a form of fraud in which a commercial contract is promised to one party even though for the sake of appearance several other parties also present a bid. This form of collusion is illegal in most countries. It is a form of price fixing and market allocation, often practiced where contracts are determined by a call for bids, for example in the case of government construction contracts.

    Bid rigging almost always results in economic harm to the agency which is seeking the bids, and to the public, who ultimately bear the costs as taxpayers or consumers.
  • Facts Keep Getting in the Way
    "It is not cost-effective for the city to issue parking-revenue bonds to do this on our own."

    PROVE IT. Any bank would love to lend money to upgrade parking meters which will more efficiently take our money. Oh yeah, you forgot to mention the millions available in TIF funds that could easily cover the proposed meter upgrades.

    "Revenue bonds are issued based on past performanceâ??the performance of our meters has been substandard for decades."

    Parking is a huge cash cow for the city and is very profitable. By updating the meter technology, changing pricing, and extending paying hours these profits should more than double. The city doesn't need ACS as a middleman for anything. The appearance of collusion and conflict of interest make a bad deal even worse.



  • Empty Statements
    Show the citizens the underperfomance on the meters. Stop making empty statements you baffoon. Start governing and managing the city's assets instead of giving them away in a no BID transaction.
    Your kidding you cannot find the $ 8 million to replace the meters? Why replace them all in year 1? Is that really what it costs? I do not beleive a word that comes out of your mouth. Stop listening to the lawyers and go get independent counsel from Investment Bankers and CPA's none of which have ties to ACS, B&T or Vaughn, in fact no ties to city governance at all. Pay them an hourly rate to go thru this process and determine if it EVEN make sense to do so. It is called being Prudential and Independent.
  • Parking Deal DOA
    I don't know why Huber continues to push this deal. The deal is dead. The public has roundly rejected it - and rightfully so. Elected officials on both sides of the idea have figured out that this was an insider deal designed to make ACS wealthy while screwing over Indy taxpayers.

    Remember the signed deal explicitly prohibits the City from looking at the ACS' books. We must rely on their numbers and their calculations to determine how much the City gets paid. Who would sign something like that?

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