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Using the guiding principles of sustainability, public safety and customer service, the Oak Park Village Board and the Transportation Commission recently committed to a much needed comprehensive review of parking. The commission has been charged with developing a plan that is both holistic and equitable while also utilizing best practices in technology. Community engagement is key in order to thoughtfully develop a system that is fair to everyone. It should never be forgotten that the streets of Oak Park are owned by the community as a whole.
With these thoughts and goals in mind, it's important for the Transportation Commission to set priorities going into this process so they can help frame the discussion that will need to take place. But priorities need to be grounded in reality and based on hard facts that currently define our village parking system. We are constrained by both physical space for cars as well as the limited ability of Oak Park residents to pay additional parking-related fees and taxes.
In order to set these priorities and develop best practices needed to ensure success, it's important to review the full financial effect parking has on our community. Frankly speaking, parking is big business in Oak Park, and changes to our parking system need to be monitored closely to determine how they might affect our greater financial picture.
With that in mind, I've taken the liberty of looking at the 2017 budget in depth and was able to reconstruct an accurate picture of the overall parking revenue in Oak Park. Due to differences in governmental accounting, not all parking revenue shows up in one location in the budget. However, by reorganizing the data, I was able to present a comprehensive picture that takes into account all sources of revenue: (top chart)
In addition, a look at the numbers wouldn't be complete without reviewing the debt currently existing on our Village garages: (bottom chart)
Total interest payable on this debt is currently projected at an additional $9,045,000, making the combined principal and interest $37,402,665. However, it's important to note that some of this debt is callable before maturity and/or may be refinanced at some point in the future.
The Transportation Commission is well aware that parking is the number one complaint in Oak Park of both residents and visitors. Certainly a lot hangs in the balance based on the comprehensive review they've undertaken. However, we now have an extraordinary opportunity to improve a situation that can impact our village in a positive way for decades. I'm optimistic that the commission and the village board will take into account all of these elements and craft a holistic and thoughtful plan to address our parking problems.
Candidate for village trustee
Answer Book 2019
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