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Parking Meter Firm Threatens Mediation Over Bill Sent To City

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Parking Meter Pay Box

A Chicago parking meter pay box. (CBS)

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CHICAGO (CBS) — Chicago and the company running the city’s parking meters are at odds over a $14.2 million bill.

As WBBM Newsradio’s Brandis Friedman reports, the city says it needs more time to make its own data analysis before paying the bill to Chicago Parking Meters LLC for parking spaces that were taken out of service because of reasons such as street closings and construction.

LISTEN: WBBM Newsradio’s Brandis Friedman reports

But the parking meter firm has called off further meetings with City Hall, and is threatening to take the case to mediation, the Chicago Tribune reports.

Mayor Rahm Emanuel told the Tribune that the city needs to examine the bill before issuing any payment. Previously, he has argued against Chicago Parking Meters LLC’s practice of billing the city for lost revenue from street closures.

“Just because you send a bill, I’m not going to ask taxpayers to pay it,” Emanuel said in May. “It’s a new day here.”

Also in May, Chicago Parking Meters LLC sent the city a bill for $22 million for revenue lost because of disabled drivers with legitimate placards and disability plates that allowed them to park for free.

In total the firm has billed the city about $50 million so far for revenue lost because of street closures and disability parking, the Tribune reported.

But Mike Brockway, the creator of “The Expired Meter” Blog, has said the parking meter firm is fully within its rights to charge the city for lost revenue.

“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.

In May, Brockway 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 says.

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