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Business Interests To Pay For Lost Parking Meter Revenue At NATO Summit

Parking Meter Pay Box

A Chicago parking meter pay box. (CBS)

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CHICAGO (CBS) — Business interests that pledged money to cover the costs of the NATO Summit are going to have to pay the Chicago’s parking meter lease company.

As WBBM Newsradio’s David Roe reports, the Chicago Tribune says the businesses will pay at least $65,000 to Chicago Parking Meters LLC, the private company that leases the city’s meters, because of the revenue it lost due to the summit on May 20.

LISTEN: WBBM Newsradio’s David Roe reports

Mayor Rahm Emanuel has contested the nearly $50 million worth of bills from the same company, most recently because of disabled drivers with legitimate placards and disability plates that allowed them to park for free.

“I’ve said no and I can say no in many languages if it’s required,” the mayor said last week. “I’m actually bilingual in that way and more than just bilingual. But I’m not doing it. Just because you sent the bill and just because in the past it was paid with no questions asked doesn’t mean going forward that’s how we’re going to operate.”

The city charges millions every time a street gets shut down.

For example, the six-corner intersection of Milwaukee, Damen and North avenues in Wicker Park was shut down six times in 2010 for movie shoots and free street festivals.

“Anytime that the city has to do something to the street – let’s say, a water main break goes down, or they have to repave, or there’s a street festival – the parking meter company has the ability, through the contract, to bill the city for the lost revenue,” Mike Brockway, creator of “The Expired Meter” blog, told CBS 2’s Dana Kozlov in December.

Last week, he told CBS 2’s Mike Parker the company is within its rights to charge the city. He says Emanuel’s refusal to pay is merely symbolic.

“I don’t think it carries much weight except from a public-relations standpoint,” Brockway said.

In 2009, the bill for such lost revenue was $533,000. In 2010, it was $1.6 million, and last year, it was $2.2 million.