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AFC wants parking meter contract suspended; fees maybe hiked in 2019; company can eventually buy lands for garaged parking

The Alliance For Change (AFC) on Monday called on the Mayor and City Council to suspend the parking meter project amid mounting concerns by sections of Georgetown’s citizenry about the deal which, among other things, provide for a takeover of lands for paid parking and a possible hike in fees in keeping with inflation.

“The metered parking fee, the garaged parking fee , the parking fin, the booting fee, the towing fee, and the storage fee described in this Article shall be subject to be reset every two tears during the term according to the accumulated adjustment for such period of the national consumer price index or such type of nationally tracked and published index of national inflation,” states the agreement.

Inflation this year is projected at 2.5 percent.

The initial rates plus 14 percent VAT  are GYD$50 per 15 minutes of parking; garaged parking of up t0 GYD$175 per 15 minutes; parking violations GYD$6,000 ; booting fee of GYD$8,000 ;  towing fee of GYD$12,000 and storage fee of GYD$7,000 per 24 hours.

Registering its “serious concern” about the handling of the project from the outset, the AFC said the time has come for City Hall to suspend the implementation of the project and reconsider “pertinent aspects” of a review that had been done by the Finance Ministry.

The AFC also wants City Hall to seek a second “independent review of the contract with GEO Park/ Smart City Solutions.

“The party therefore registers its serious concern with regard to the handling of this project from its inception to its current stage but specifically in terms of the lack of sufficient prior public consultation; the absence of transparency and of a competitive bidding process; the seeming lack of proper planning with regard to exemptions and the pricing and penalty structures,” the AFC said in a statement.

The A Partnership for National Unity/ People’s National Congress Reform-aligned councillors, including Mayor Patricia Chase-Green, support the parking meter system.

While saying it neither supports nor opposes the implementation of paid metered parking in Georgetown and recognises the M&CC’s autonomy and legal right to regularize parking and raise money to “better manage the affairs of the city,” the AFC said it is concerned that the implementation of the parking meter project has advanced without much compromise. That’s despite the AFC raising its concerns through Deputy Mayor Mr. Sherod Duncan.

The AFC argued that the available documentation, suggests that the municipality may have overreached its authority on a number of matters including taxation arrangements, traffic arrangements and road ownership. “The party views this with alarm as it does the apparent exclusivity and monopolization of paid metered parking in the city,” the party said.

The amended agreement virtually guarantees SCS another 20 years after the current contract expires providing the company adequately performs its obligations and subject to the approval of the city “such approval not to be unreasonably withheld.”

The contract provides for SCS to initially install 2,500 meters and phase in more based on demand and public reactions. The agreement further provides for SCS to secure lands to establish garage parking facilities and to eventually purchase those lands. “The concessionaire shall retain the right, at any time during the term, to solicit the City to purchase from the City at a negotiated and fair market price any land which had been previously granted by the City to be used for garage parking operations.”

The agreement, however, does not oblige the M&CC to approve any solicitation for garaged parking operations that SC may request.