Wednesday, October 9, 2013

It's hard to imagine, but the Parking Plot just got worse

It was already one of the most poorly-conceived business deals in the history of our fine City, and today we learned that the Parking Plot is another $7 $21 million worse* than the Administration and Mayor Mallory promised.

At the inception of the transaction, City voters were told the Parking Plot would yield $92 million to prevent police and fire layoffs, build a downtown condominium and grocery store, build the Martin Luther King exchange on I-71, and otherwise generally prove to be the salvation of the City.

Then, we learned that all of these capital projects could and would go forward without the Parking Plot monies, and we had enough money to avoid police and fire layoffs after all.  (Indeed, later a budget surplus magically appeared.)  Then, we learned that of the $92 million, fully one-third had been promised to the Port Authority to be the City's business partner in the transaction.  That reduced the City's take to just $65 million.

Now, today, the Enquirer reports, the Parking Plot is going to yield $7 million less than promised. This is so because since the initial projections, the City's bond rating has fallen (due to City Council's irresponsible fiscal policies), interest rates have risen, and parking revenues have been cut due to reduced enforcement hours.

As with the Streetcar, the question for this Council is: When does the deal become so bad that it ought to be abandoned?  Their answer, very simply, absolutely never.  There is no set of circumstances on the Streetcar or on the Parking Plot that would call for them to change direction on the deal.  Once it was announced, it was always intended to be pushed forward.

So it is and so it will be until the voters implement a change at City Hall.

* The initial payout is $7 Million less than promised and the city is expected to pay $14 Million from the initial payout for a new garage (that garage was supposed to be paid for by future parking plot payouts)

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