Mayor Disputing $13.5M Bill For Disabled Parking

Updated 12/13/11 – 2:45 p.m.

CHICAGO (CBS) — Mayor Rahm Emanuel says – for now – he is holding off on paying $13.5 million to the company that controls the city’s parking meters in connection with losses from free parking for the disabled.

WBBM Political Editor Craig Dellimore reports that the city is in talks with Chicago Parking Meters LLC to lower the amount of money taxpayers would have to pay to cover the lost revenue from disabled parking.

The city’s controversial lease of parking meters to Chicago Parking Meters LLC allows the company to recoup some of the revenue lost to free parking for drivers with disabled parking placards or license plates.

LISTEN: WBBM Newsradio Political Editor Craig Dellimore Reports

The company has submitted a bill for $13.5 million for the one-year period from February 2010 to February 2011, but Emanuel said the city is not prepared to pay that sum just yet.

“Now, they may say that’s what we owe, but … I think it’s pretty clear … just because they submit it doesn’t mean that’s what we’re going to pay; and we’re contesting that right now in a series of matters and discussions with the company,” Emanuel said.

The mayor has been pushing for a crackdown on abuse of disabled parking placards by stiffening penalties for drivers who use fake, stolen or altered disability placards, imposing fines of $500 to $1,000.

Motorists who fraudulently use legitimate disabled driver cards could have their cars impounded, which would bring an additional $2,000 fine, plus $150 towing fee and $10 daily storage charge.

“Those who violate it and, in my view, infringe on the rights for people that have disabilities, the right that they have there to be protected; and we will also be clear to the company that just because they submit something doesn’t mean that we think that they’re totally accurate,” Emanuel said.

While officials can’t say how many disabled parking placards used in Chicago are fake or otherwise fraudulent, the City Council is expected to approve the crackdown on Wednesday.

A City Council committee endorsed the plan on Monday.

  • ak

    How could the city agree to a contract in which they would be “on the hook” financially for this? Dumb to say the least…since they approved the deal, how about having the aldermen reimburse the city!

  • Whistleblower

    Nancy Berryhill, Commissioner, Regional Commissioner of Social Security. There are employees in your building at 600 W. Madison who have disabled placards, park for free downtown and continue to receive travel vouchers that they are not eligible for as they dont use public transportation. These people are cheating 2 systems. They are parking for free and most are using other people’s placards and illegally cashing in on the voucher program and selling the vouchers for 1/2 price for cash.
    This situation was brought to light 2-3 years ago on fox news. It was swept under the rug by the former commissioner of SSA, James Martin because there were people in management named.
    Ms. Berryhill does not patrol the streets of Chicago, but she should patrol her building and make sure anyone who receives vouchers actually uses public transportation.

  • tom sharp

    I’m sure Whistleblower’s comments represent the tip of the ice berg for city workers abusing the system. I love it when city hall decides to brag about enforcing existing laws as if they were doing something above and beyond the call of duty. What a bunch of losers! Term Limits of one!!!

  • helen

    WHO reads these? I sat by the AON Bldg. for a couple days and saw numerous people that obviously were abusing the system. I have pictures and plate numbers. I wish I could tell someone who actually cares

  • Parking Meter Rates Set To Rise Again In 2012 « CBS Chicago

    […] There has been plenty of new controversy over the parking meter lease deal recently, after the company submitted a $13.5 million bill to the city for lost revenue from disabled drivers who ar… […]

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