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City Fails In Taking Over Miami Parking Authority

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MIAMI (CBS4) – The people have spoken on the matter of parking and it’s not what the City of Miami wanted to hear.

Garnering 56 percent of the vote the Miami Parking Authority, a semi-autonomous agency which runs the city’s pay lots and spots, will retain that duty instead of it being taken over by the city.

Miami officials, eyeing a cash windfall if they took over the MPA, decided last July to put the measure on the ballot for voter approval.

Faced with a $105 million budget shortfall, Miami Mayor Tomas Regalado and City Manager Carlos Migoya reportedly planned to borrow about $100 million by using money that the city paid to the MPA as leverage, according to CBS4 news partner The Miami Herald.

Regalado also questioned how the MPA spent the funds given to them by the city. He said if they city ran the agency it would cut what he considered bloated expenses. For example, he pointed out that the agency hired prominent attorney Tom Tew, who reportedly billed the agency $525 and hour, to represent it on the issue against the city.

According to public records, the MPA spent $8 million of the nearly $23 million in revenues collected in the 2008-2009 budget year on salaries, wages and fringe benefits. In all, the MPA says it spent about 41 percent on personnel matters, slightly higher than the industry standard set in 1998 of 36 percent, which some call outdated.

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