A Third Greuel Parking Audit Shows DOT in Dissaray

Photo:##http://gadgets.boingboing.net/2008/12/04/parking-meter-fail.html##Boing Boing

It is doubtful that the media will give the same attention to today’s report, “Audit of the City’s Parking Meter Collection Process by City Comptroller Wendy Greuel as it did the “Gold Card” report a couple of weeks ago or the “Parking Cops Taking Part in a Porn Video” report on NBC from earlier this year, but the most recent report might be the most damning.  The city really doesn’t know how many parking meters it has?  Among the findings:

  • The city doesn’t know how many parking meters it currently owns.  They think its around 36,000 but they’re not sure.  It sort of makes you wonder how the Department can even claim that its maximizing revenue from the parking program.
  • The city purchased bad “hand held meter reading devices” which cost the city $200,000 a year in maintenance.  This again leads to questions about whether the city is maximizing parking revenue.  The devices which inventory the collections routinely break.
  • LADOT’s contract management is poor.  Contractors collect the funds from meters, but charge the city whether the meter is broken or not.  While meter readers are supposed to report broken meters, they usually don’t.
  • Because the city collects fees on a calendar schedule, more frequently used meters are collected from too infrequently and other meters could actually go longer without seeing an attendant.

Maximizing parking revenue has been a hot topic in City Hall as the Mayor has pushed a privitization plan for city garages that was torpedoed by the Council.  In the wake of that proposal, more Council Members discussed how to improve revenue flow from parking.  City Council Transportation Committee Chair Bill Rosendahl has pushed the issue, referring to parking revenue as “gold in the gutter.”

While the “Gold Card” Audit initially brought a political response from the Mayor’s Office.  Today, the LADOT sounded more humble and accepting of Greuel’s findings. 

“”The Department agrees with the findings and recommendations in the Controller’s audit.  We’ve already implemented many of the recommendations and have replaced most of the older meters with new “Card and Coin” meters and pay stations that automatically advise if service is required.  Additionally, the Department is looking at collection frequencies to maximize efficiency,” writes Bruce Gillman, the public relations director for LADOT.

While the report does recognize the improvements gained from the new meters and pay stations, it closes the report with fifteen more recommendations for the agency to follow.  Among the most urgent action items were discovering the exact number of meters and devising a way to maintain an accurate count, periodically monitor and analyze
collection frequencies of subzones with the goal of setting the frequencies at their optimum number, and establish a formal and documented plan for filing and maintaining documents related to daily collection records and .support for the invoices.

  • Brian of Glassell

    It’s amazing how screwed up this city is, if they really had their house in order on parking fines, towing/impound fees, parking meters and parking lots, I bet there are millions if not billions of untapped revenue just out there like “Low hanging fruit”. But we have really poor management and no oversight and this is what we end up with, a bunch of “Lifers” who don’t give a crap about our city or our monies.

  • Vito Grillo

    The level of disfunction in this city amazes me. We seriously need to think about just tossing our government out and starting over.

  • ubrayj02 can suck it

    I think that is a really stupid proposal. Tossing our government would allow the worst kind of demagogues and vested interests unfettered access to the levers of power. It is bad enough as it is, and fortunately this is the sort of problem that is fixable.

  • Jamon

    What is the most surprising is how our city council offices aren’t engaged in knowing precisely how much money comes in via parking meters, and where our meters are the best or worst performing. The same goes for sales tax revenue. You would think our elected officials would be on top of these data sets at all times – but in fact our “leaders” are typically so unplugged from the city that it takes massive newspaper scandals to get things done.

  • Wendsy Grool

    When is the Deptartment of Parks and Wrecks goign to be audited? Those geniuses misplaced several tens of millions of dollars in parks money.

    Public Works is a great department to focus on as well – they have a Sanitation Bureau that issues licenses to property owners for numbered trash cans; an Inspection and Enforcement Division that is tasked with clearing the carriage way of obstructions (with police powers); yet they can’t figure out how to get said property owners to keep their f&*$ing trash cans out of the bike lanes!

  • The dude abides

    They should also go after the Animal Services department. There is millions in uncollected horse fees. Not only do the horses poop up my hiking (and illegal biking) trails, they cause damage to our parks and escape paying their fees.

    When horses win people lose. More money less poop!

  • Let Them Eat Bike Lanes

    More money less poop?! That is a recipe for ecological suicide.

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