Question from Gary Ferguson, Executive Director of the Ithaca Downtown Partnership:
We are considering a switch over from public management of our downtown parking facilities to private. Has anyone done this in the recent past? How did they handle existing public employees? What type of incentives/contract did the private operator get? What was the outcome? Has private worked better than public? Why?
Village of Port Jefferson:
We have not yet had that challenge here in the Village of Port Jefferson.
Montgomery County Chamber of Commerce, Amsterdam:
We do not have this issue in our area. You might, however, want to contact the Saratoga Chamber of Commerce.
Village of Hilton:
The Village of Hilton does not have any downtown parking facilities to manage.
Corning's Gaffer District, Corning:
I cannot believe you sent this to me today. My Director of Operations and myself have been discussing this very issue today. We would like to take over management of the downtown parking lots in order to make them more customer friendly. There are, of course, lots of other reasons, but that is number one for us.
We have not come up with any solutions yet. I have met w/the City Manager of Corning and he is on board with it...provided we find a way to police the lots that remains fair. I am thinking of having a Carl Walker come in and work with us on this issue. he is THE guru of parking. He is from Michigan. I will keep you updated. If he does come down, you guys might could tag on a visit with him while he is in the area. http://www.carlwalker.com/
City of Johnson City:
Have you tried Binghamton, I think they have outside management?
City of Auburn:
The City of Auburn only has 1 garage and several meter operated lots that we operate. Several years ago we installed a "key / card" system of long term meters (.25 cents per hour / just program how long you will be there. This way we did not have to collect at the entrances / exits and therefore greatly reduced labor costs. We also police (ticket) with our own staff and make more money collecting fees for tickets. Actually, the city stopped collecting revenues at the meters on Genesee St (our Main St) for several years in the downtown area. We made allot of profits for going over a 2 hour limit (meter guy chalks tires and comes back later to make sure you've moved on or writes a ticket). We are also now considering a unit dispenser of tickets for parking (I have seen them in Portland), put your money / card into the machine, and tape the receipt to the window for proof of purchase which will get rid of the meters.
I believe that Syracuse switched over their system to private vendors. I would be careful about the competitive bidding process. In a small market city, not getting a competitive price may cost more in the end.
City of Poughkeepsie:
Currently in Poughkeepsie our lots are managed by a private firm, but staffed by city employees. But we are looking to the future and would like to hear about other systems and their pluses/minuses.
Niagara Falls Empire Zone, Office of Economic Development, City of Niagara Falls:
At one time in the 1970's 1980's and possibly the early 1990's the City of Niagara Falls employed a private firm (Niagara Ramps) to operate their parking facilities at Ramp 1 (Just demolished) Ramp2 (Rainbow Center) and also the then Niagara Fall’s Convention Center lot. In the mid 90's the City assumed operation.
City of Mount Vernon:
The City of Mount Vernon has not privatized its garages.
Village of Cobleskill:
I am sorry but we have no expertise in this area. I would suggest that you work with a good labor attorney if the public employees are represented by a union contract. Obviously the property needs an appraised value that needs to be protected. A question may be considered as to whether it is more cost effective to sell vs. lease? NYCOM has some good information about the process of acquiring or selling property as well as use by private enterprise. If you have not done so, it would be of benefit to give them a call.
Village of Bronxville:
Bronxville has not had that parking experience. You might want to check with Greenwich,CT.
City of Lockport:
We are currently doing the same thing that you are regarding parking and we are looking for some answers as well.
Village of Freeport:
The Village of Freeport has public management of our parking facilities. I do not foresee that we will go private in the future. We did however go private with our refuse collection many years ago in 1979. According to our Superintendent of Public Works, some employees were assigned different jobs in our Highway Department and those who could not be placed were laid off. It turned out that it was less expensive (when you include union medical/dental/yearly raises) and a more efficient service to go private. The village went out to bid for a private carter and I do not believe we gave any incentives.