Tuesday, June 4, 2019

Parking meter privatization plan not dead! Not withdrawn- just "deferred."

Image result for Parking meters by Rod Williams, 6/4/19 - Last night at a candidate's forum in Bellevue, Councilman Steve Glover said that the plan to privatize parking meters is not dead. He said he had just come from a council committee meeting at which that was clarified.  He said at the meeting, the administration said they were asking that the bill be deferred indefinitely instead of withdrawn. Glover said he asked why and was told that they wanted to keep their options open.

What this means is that this bill could still be passed.  A deferred bill can be brought back up at any time. If it has passed first reading as this bill has, then the sponsor could ask for it to be put back on the agenda and it would be put back on the agenda on second reading.

New elections for mayor and council are held August 1. There will be two more meetings between the election date and when the new Council takes office.  The outgoing council could pass the parking privatization measure on second reading on the meeting before their last meeting, and pass it on third reading at the very last meeting.

Why would they do this?  This is going to be a tight budget and not approving the parking privatization plan will make the budget even tighter. The budget must be finalized by June 30th or the Mayor's budget becomes law without council action.  That has never happened. The Council will pass a budget by June 30th.  Since the upfront $34 million from the parking privatization deal was used to make up the revenue side of the current proposed budget, and since the mayor has stated he will not seek a tax increase, $34 million must be found somewhere or that much expenditure must be cut. An effort, probably led by Councilman Medes, will be made to raise taxes.  It will fail.  Not wanting to anger metro employees, especially teachers, more than they are already angered, the Council will try to fill the $34 million whole in the budget by judiciously cutting expenditures a little here and there.  No one will be happy.  In last minuet effort to restore some of the cuts in the budget the Council may pass the parking privatization plan.

I am not opposed to the concept of parking meter privatization as I have explained here. I am opposed, however, to this plan being passed at this time however.  Many cites that have tried privatization of parking meters have made a mess of it. We need to make sure we do it right. Also, the public needs to have input and understand the plan before it is passed. This plan has not been sold. I also strongly object to using one-time monies to fund continuing needs.  One-time monies should be used to pay down the debt not fund daily operating expenses.

The Council needs to not allow the bill to be deferred indefinitely.  The parking privatization plan needs to be killed.

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