Return control of the Philadelphia Parking Authority back to the the City of Philadelphia, and allocate 100% of its revenues to directly benefit the city.
This petition had 3,182 supporters
The Parking Authority was originally created in 1950 via a vote by the PA state legislature, with the primary role of creating/managing off-street parking facilities (mainly several garages) in Philadelphia. Since the 70's, its scope and responsibilities have been greatly expanded. They now control regulation & enforcement of on-site parking facilities at Philly International Airport, regulation & enforcement of on-street parking functions, and management of all Philadelphia taxi & limousine services, including the issuing of taxi medallions.
The organization currently operates outside of city control, with power of board appointment belonging to the Governor & state legislature. Earnings from its operations are now being split between the State of Pennsylvania, the Philadelphia Department of Aviation, and the Philadelphia School District. However, analysis and recent audits of the organization have shown an inability to control spending, along with inefficient operations, which have resulted in only a small fraction of potential revenue actually making it into city coffers.
In 2014, the PPA brought in a combined revenue of $233,708,372 from its On-Street & Off-Street parking operations. $121,531,303 was from On-Street parking enforcement (ticketing) alone. While, you'd think that numbers like this would be a boon for the city. After consistent inefficient spending, hyper-inflated salaries/pensions, and uncontrolled budgets - the city only actually receives a small portion of this.
As of 2007, controversy arose when it was discovered that over 20 PPA managers made over $100,000 per year, and its team was heavily loaded with executives. They justified this expenditure by comparing it with the salaries of the top executives from the Philadelphia School District (even though the school district is a $3 billion organization, instead of $200 million). Administrative expenses (which includes executive salaries and pensions) have risen by 13% each year in the past 2 years, despite a decline in revenue between 2013 and 2014.
Since 2010, the parking authority has spent over $38,000,000 on capital asset purchases alone. $19,000,000 was spent just on equipment & furniture. They plan capital projects next year in excess of $69 million. Each year, cash in the tune of $20 million - $40 million is hoarded in a fund "for future capital purchases". They can raise and lower this fund at will, and all of this money is then withheld from the city/schools.
In a 2009 audit, it was reported that PPA's strategy to issue bonds to generate revenue for major expenditures greatly reduced its profitability. Debt servicing contributed to 43.4% of total expenses, compared with 28.2% industry average.
In 2014 it had direct operating expenses of $103,116,000. A $9 million increase from 2010. Combined direct operating and administrative expenses have risen far faster than gross revenue, showing an inability to control costs.
Last year they spent nearly $4.1 million in "misc and office expenses" for managing the airport facility alone. In 2014 the organization kept $66,000,000 in cash and cash equivalents on reserve.
The chairman of the board, received $75,000 annual salary just for being a board member (this isn't a full time duty keep in mind).
At the end of the fiscal year, only $46.5 million of their $233 million in revenue ended up going to the City general fund & the School district. A measly $9.7 million of this was reserved for the struggling school district, which is currently experiencing a $70 million + budget shortfall. Compare this with 2012, when $14 million was given to the schools, despite a $3 million increase in revenues since then. Payments to the city have decreased by 4.5% and 6.09% in 2013 and 2014 respectively. Consider the fact that revenue rose by 4.31% in 2013, and only dropped by 2.7% in 2014.
As of March 2014, the PPA owed $40.9 million in unpaid liabilities to the city. Furthermore, as of October 2013, the Red Light Camera program had generated more $72 million in violation income (the number is well over $80 million today based on the $16 million + in revenues generated between 3/13 - 3/14). Of that, $72 million went to an Arizona-based camera company. The other piece, about $33 million was siphoned out of Philadelphia, and given to the state highway fund.
The Parking Authority was originally created with the intentions to work 100% for the benefit of the City of Philadelphia, not against it. As with parking enforcement in other major cities, this is an agency which should be operating on a shoe-string budget, with the majority of all revenues going back into the city and school district. Their financial statements indicate that the agency does not have control over its spending, and does not keep the welfare of the city of Philadelphia in mind when making budgeting decisions. Cash for major capital projects should be raised & funded only with the approval of the city budget office, after its been determined it can be afforded with the city's current financial needs. With their spending, money that would be given back to the city, is instead being re-invested back into PPA personnel, equipment, & projects. Do we really need to spend $70,000,000 on a new parking garage when thousands of teachers are threatened with their jobs? Does the PPA need brand new tow trucks and meter maid vehicles every year when kids are in classrooms with 40-50 peers and no text books? There are far greater priorities than frivolous investments which don't directly benefit the people of Philadelphia. If demand calls for it, privately owned garages should & would inevitably fill any unmet needs.
There is no reason that 100% of revenues from parking, traffic, & taxicab operations within Philadelphia city limits, should not be directly benefitting the local jurisdiction. Given the shortfalls of the school district which have resulted in major cuts to public education, the city needs all of the revenue it can get - and that money is already being generated without further tax increases. We call on the Pennsylvania State Legislature return control of the Philadelphia Parking Authority back to the city of Philadelphia, and ensure all of its revenues will directly benefit the city going forward.
More a full history on the organization, details of their operations, & direct sources can be found in this article. http://www.reddit.com/r/philadelphia/comments/2khzdi/a_history_of_the_ppa_and_how_theyve_been/
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