Mayor Greg Ballard’s hope of making Indianapolis the first U.S. city with an all-electric car-sharing service hinges on regulators’ approval of a rate hike to cover $16 million in installation and other costs to Indianapolis Power and Light.The Ballard administration supporting higher fees on consumers? Well certainly no surprise there. What I did find surprising is the biggest cost of the deal:
The city filed testimony by Ballard and other officials to support IPL’s case, which is key to the utility’s agreement with the city to install as many as 1,000 charging stations at 200 locations to support BlueIndy LLC, the local subsidiary of Bollore Group, a French conglomerate that wants to launch a car-sharing service here.
The biggest cost to the city will be removing downtown parking meters, according to the testimony of Director of Enterprise Development David Rosenberg. Under a 50-year lease the city signed in 2010, the city must reimburse the meter operator, ParkIndy, for revenue it loses to meters taken out of service for special events or other city needs.Actually that's not true. While there is a section in the contract requiring compensation for meters closed temporarily for events, there is another section that allows up to 200 spaces to permanently be removed without the City having to pay any compensation whatsoever. According to Section 7.4:
During the Term, the City may remove up to Two Hundred (200) metered spaces ("Meter Removal Basket") without the occurrence of a Compensation Event....Later in Section 7.4 there is language that permits the City to waive compensation by providing written notice that it does not wish the space removal to count toward the 200 non-compensated removals. The obvious question though is why the City would opt to pay ACS, rather than count the parking spaces closed for the electric car charging station spaces toward the 200 allowable space removals that do not require compensation.
If the section allowing permanent removal of spaces without compensation is not used, then it would appear that the default is to pay the Temporary Closure Fee. The compensation for that fee is $20 per meter in the two most popular downtown zones while $15 a day in the remaining two zones. Doing the math, if a downtown meter has 100% occupancy at $1.50 an hour from 8 am to 9 pm, the meter will taken in $19.50. Of course it's unlikely that the meters would have 100% occupancy so by getting the Temporary Closure Fee the parking vendor actually makes out better than if the meters were in operation.
Heads or tails, the taxpayers lose while ACS continues to win.