Time has run out for the City of Nanaimo’s test run of a new in-house parking model.
Nanaimo council will decide this month whether to make parking enforcement a permanent in-house service.
The City of Nanaimo has spent hundreds of thousands of dollars in the transition to an in-house model, which was on trial for the past three years as part of an agreement with the Canadian Union of Public Employees.
The transition was meant to create an integrated service that combines enforcement and security, creates ambassadors and allows discretion when it comes to ticketing. The city has seen changes, including six full-time positions that include a new parking manager, an adjudication system for disputes, and altered parking rates.
Parking service department wages and benefits alone cost the city $499,843 during the first full year of operations in 2014. The Robbins Parking contract, which included a commission, cost the city $359,848 in 2013.
Another $68,000 has been spent on new licence plate-reader technology.
Now councillors will decide if they should keep the service or contract it out to an external provider. The three-year trial expires at the end of the year.
Mayor Bill McKay said when the service went in-house it was a novel concept and the city didn’t know if it was going to work out. He now believes customer satisfaction is way up and said while ticketing revenues are down, so are unpaid parking tickets – a change he attributes to the new adjudication system.
“It looks to me as though it will be positive to stay with this new model,” McKay said.
Coun. Gord Fuller is waiting for a staff report but would like to keep parking in-house. If it’s in the red, that’s a different story, he said.
A report on parking services is expected to go to council at the end of the month. An early presentation showed there would be a net estimated savings of more than $60,000 if the city went to an external contractor.