Fayetteville Takes on More Debt to Institute Paid Parking

The implementation of paid parking in downtown Fayetteville is getting expensive. Not only are you going to have to pay to park downtown in the near future, you’re going to have to pay back hundreds of thousands of dollars in unanticipated debt so that Fayetteville can implement paid parking enforcement.

If you want to read all about it, download the attached file.

Here’s the cliff-notes version:

Parking Deck Delays = Lost Revenue

Fayetteville doesn’t yet own the new parking deck downtown. The reason is that we’re not building it ourselves. We are buying it from private developers, once it is finished. Then, we’re leasing back most of the spaces to those same developers.

The deck is more than a year late. Therefore, we haven’t been able to rent out the spaces to Prince Charles Apartments, Woodpeckers employees, etc.

Thus far, according to the City’s numbers, we’ve lost $352,369 in projected revenue as a result of the delay:

In the meantime, the cost of the deck has increased by $3,446,095.

I have more good news: once the deck is finally finished, you, the taxpayer, will be paying a private company to manage, clean, and operate the deck, even though you will not get to use the vast majority of the spaces.

Need Money = Borrow It

So what’s Fayetteville doing to make up for these losses? Borrowing more money:

Now we are taking out a $500,000 loan to install electronic parking meters and equipment. Note that this was all supposed to be “cash funded” from parking revenues we already had.

Keep in mind, we’ve already taken out $14,842,032 in bond money to pay for the deck. The voters didn’t approve this by the way. The City went around the voters using a legal loophole called Synthetic Tax Incremental Financing. It’s great, assuming your tax projections pan out. They haven’t thus far.

Bad Business

The City of Fayetteville has already proven it is lousy at the parking business. It can’t decide what it wants to do, and it once it does, it has to take the taxpayers further into debt to get there.

Moreover, what’s the goal here? The end result of all this is a significant burden on downtown businesses. Less people are going to shop and eat downtown if they can get the same amenities elsewhere in town without having to pay to park.

The short of it is this: Your City government has taken you into debt so that they can charge you money to park on City property.

It’s pretty much a lose/lose. But don’t worry, City staff says that downtown parking will pay for itself, one day, when the deck is finally finished.

Image result for shell game

Despite the money shuffle, it’s pretty obvious where the problem lies.

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