BOARD WRESTLES WITH PARKING REVENUE IDEAS
By Vic Cox
Continuing a wide-ranging discussion of finance and policy issues from meetings earlier this calendar year, the Ratepayer Board on March 7 wrestled with ideas to increase income in ways that are fair to all permit holders.
Among those ideas are a possible request to students to accept a rise in their mandatory lock-in fees for night and weekend parking; temporary rental of some structure spaces to Isla Vista residents; and an increase of $1 (to $3) for night and weekend parkers who do not hold permits. At present, the board has forwarded only the latter proposal to Chancellor Henry Yang, who approved the increase, effective July 1, according to a memo to board Chair Konstadinos Goulias. See <http://www.tps.ucsb.edu/PDF/Ratepayer/174____March%207,%202007.pdf
> for the memo.
Student representatives on the board, including A.S. President Jared Goldschen, argued against boosting the lock-in fees in the face of a likely University increase in student fees. (The Regents approved a 7 percent increase in systemwide fees last week.) Not only was the timing poor but also students need to know why they are being asked to pay more, said Goldschen.
Some board members, including Goulias and faculty representative Marguerite Bouraad-Nash, repeated an earlier suggestion that perhaps the fairest approach would be to abolish the lock-in altogether. Through the lock-in fee, undergraduate and graduate students currently pay $3.33 a quarter for complete, if theoretical, access to parking on nights and weekends. Transportation and Parking Services (T&PS) would like the lock-in to increase to around $4.
Kate Deutsch, a graduate student representative, noted that though all students, including those with parking permits, pay the lock-in fee, not all students use the access regularly. These are reasons for low lock-in rates, she said.
Propelling the discussion are rising repayment costs for debt incurred to finance the building of three parking structures since 1998. This is called the debt service. UC policy requires that campus parking operations, including personnel, lots, and structures, be self-sustaining, so the debt service is borne by ratepayers.
A summary of 2006-07 parking operations reserves for the first six months from T&PS lists the three structures’ combined debt service at $1,094,683. In a report to the board in February, Robert Silsbee, an Administrative Services Division planning and resources manager, warned that this debt service was due to go to $2.7 million a year by 2008-09.