Tuesday 7 August 2007

Parking Inspectors are next to Tax collectors in Godliness

In today's Cairns Post (reprinting this because the online articles don't stay online for more than a day, and this is a hot topic for us. Glad Laurel-Lee researched this one!

$1m parking profit

By Laurel-Lee Roderick at The Cairns Post, 07Aug07

PARKING cost Cairns motorists more than $3.5 million last year, but only $2.5 million of it was spent on parking - giving the council a $1 million profit.

Figures for 2006-07 show that $35,000 a week was collected by the city’s 1686 parking meters, equalling more than $1.8 million for the year.

Fines for illegal parking added a further $855,000 on top of that.
The remaining revenue came from parking stations and miscellaneous charges such as commercial fees for businesses and public transport operators.

But just $2.5 million of the revenue – or 71 per cent – was earmarked in the last budget for parking-related expenses. The result was a $1 million parking profit for the council.
Despite the healthy income, parking revenue was down by almost a quarter on the initial target of $4.45 million.

A council spokeswoman said there was no requirement for parking revenue to be reinvested into parking.

But a significant amount was spent on managing the city’s parking. That included employing 11 parking rangers – or city liaison officers – to monitor disabled parking bays, loading zones, bus zones and to police parking meters.

They also handled non-parking issues, including outdoor dining, and responded to parking complaints in the suburbs.

Some of the revenue was spent maintaining the city’s 61 pay and display machines, the Lake St parking station and meter upgrades and maintenance. In the next year, the council plans to spend $325,000 less on parking, despite projections it will earn $4.4 million from parking.
But it has budgeted for new pay-and-display machines in McLeod St, outside Cairns Central, and will replace some old parking meters with the machines.

"Council will also be creating a new 40-space car park as part of the new performing arts centre and revenue from car parking will be used to do that," the spokeswoman said.

The council received about 250 complaints from angry motorists each year.

Cairns Chamber of Commerce has backed the city’s paid parking regime.
"It should be positive for trade in the CBD," chamber president Jeremy Blockey said.

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