Parking Tax Could Raise Miamis Metered Parking Rates
Written by Yudislaidy Fernandez on April 16, 2009
By Yudislaidy Fernandez
Miami’s metered parking rates will probably rise if the city’s auditor general succeeds in convincing the city it should collect a surcharge on the nearly $10 million in on-street parking revenues generated yearly.
Independent Auditor General Victor Igwe said he interprets state law to require the 15% monthly city surcharge imposed on lots and garages to also apply to on-street parking. He’s asking the legal department for an opinion.
The city recently demanded the county pay the fee on garages it runs in the city and has sent a bill of $943,000, going back to 2004.
Citywide the Miami Parking Authority operates pay-and-display machines, which replaced meters. Mr. Igwe writes that the state statute that allows the city to assess a surcharge doesn’t exempt pay-and-display machines.
"It is the position of [his office] that parking surcharge should be assessed and collected from revenues derived from [pay-and-display] machines," he states.
Based on the about $9.1 million from the meters last year, the authority would owe the city $1.3 million.
"If a surcharge is imposed we will have to increase the on-street rates to compensate," said authority CEO Art Noriega. He noted that when the fee was first applied to lots and garages, the authority had to hike those rates.
The surcharge would hit just as revenues for on-street parking are rising. Metered revenues rose about 15% from 2007 to 2008, mostly through installation and upgrading of the pay-and-display machines and the installation of new meters, the authority’s 2008 financial report shows.
The authority paid the city $1.8 million in surcharges last fiscal year and has paid $944,000 so far this year, said Diana Gomez, the city’s finance director.