Chicago settles parking meter payment dispute, mayor says

Mon Apr 29, 2013 2:56pm EDT

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CHICAGO, April 29 (Reuters) - Chicago settled a payment
dispute with a private company operating the city's parking
meters that will greatly reduce money owed by the city, Mayor
Rahm Emanuel announced on Monday.
   Under the deal, Chicago will pay Chicago Parking Meters LLC
$8.9 million, instead of the $49 million the company demanded in
compensation for out-of-service meters due to street closures
and other reasons covering a two-year period that ended on March
31. The agreement will be presented on May 8 to the city
council, which will have 30 days to review it, according to a
statement from the mayor's office.
    "The $40 million difference between what was invoiced and
what would be paid under this agreement represents over $1
billion in estimated future charges in today's dollars to the
city over the life of the contract that will no longer be
payable," the statement said.  
   Chicago Parking Meters said in a statement that it is hopeful
the city council will ratify the deal. 
   The third-largest U.S. city received $1.157 billion in 2008
from the 75-year lease with the company during former Mayor
Richard Daley's administration.  
    The deal, which resulted in parking meter rate hikes, was
slammed in 2009 by a Chicago inspector general report that said
it undervalued the system of 36,000 parking meters by $974
million.   
    In addition, Chicago tapped parking meter deal proceeds
to help close budget gaps under Daley. Emanuel, who inherited
the contract, has been fighting the company over the
reimbursements and ordered an operational and financial
management audit of the lease deal last fall.
    "When I was elected mayor, I said this was a bad deal, but
promised to do everything I could to make improvements on behalf
of the taxpayers of this city," Emanuel said in the statement,
adding that the deal will bring "some necessary and positive
changes to this contract."
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