Amendment to state budget sought by Toledo on parking meter franchiseWritten by Lisa Renee Ward | | firstname.lastname@example.org
The impending passage of the state budget by the Ohio House and Senate contains an amendment sought by the City of Toledo. It would clarify language and terms to allow a municipality to grant franchises on off-street parking as part of the discussion related to the possible sale of parking garages and meters to the Toledo-Lucas County Port Authority.
The amendment allows the granting of a public parking franchise to any person or public entity for not more than 30 years. A franchise fee payment can be a lump sum payment, periodic or both under the amendment as written.
Parking meters were not listed in the original section of the Ohio Revised Code (ORC), the amendment allows for the operation of meters or other parking devices to be managed and operated by municipal government or a public agency when approved by a legislative authority. In this case that would be Toledo City Council.
Before the amendment to the (ORC) was sought, there was no listing or definition of a “public agency” related to traffic regulations. The amendment creates a new definition for that section of the ORC, “‘Public agency’ includes any county, municipal corporation, port authority, regional transit authority, airport authority, or transportation improvement district created pursuant to the laws of this state.”
Jen Sorgenfrei, public information officer for the City of Toledo, confirmed June 27 that the amendment was sought through Sean P. Dunn and Associates. Dunn is the government affairs services firm Toledo contracted with for lobbying services.
The area that encompasses the parking garages and meters are within the district of Democrats Rep. Michael Ashford and Senator Edna Brown. Dunn enlisted Republicans Rep. Barbara Sears and Senator Mark Wagoner to assist in getting the amendment into the state budget bill.
Rep. Matt Szollosi and Ashford told Toledo Free Press that Christie Angel, an employee of Dunn, had mentioned the amendment and asked for their support but did not ask either one to be co-sponsors of the amendment.
Legislation for the sale of the parking garages and meters was expected to be presented to Toledo City Council at their June 28 meeting It does not appear on the agenda of items set to be before Council.
The port authority will use approximately $15 million in bonds to purchase Vistula, Port Lawrence, and Superior garages if approved by Toledo City Council. The sale is expected to net Toledo close to $5 million since about $10 million is still owed on bonds Toledo holds tied to the parking garages.
More on this developing story to follow.