Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel lashed out Tuesday against a $13.5 million bill the city received from Chicago Parking Meters LLC concerning what the company considers to be lost revenue from disabled people parking at their meters.
Emanuel said in an unrelated news conference that he will be "the taxpayer watchdog" when it comes to overseeing the city's checkbook, as reported by NBC Chicago.
"I just don't write blank checks to companies that say that's what we owe," Emanuel continued. "Just because they submit it doesn't mean that's what we're going to pay, and we're contesting that."
Instead, a spokesperson for the mayor has said the city may pay the company a "significantly less" amount than the $13.5 million Chicago Parking Meters is asking for, Fox Chicago reports.
On Monday, the company, which signed a 75-year lease to operate the city's parking meters for $1.16 billion in 2008, submitted a bill to the city. The company claims that, per the terms of that lease, they can bill the city for lost revenue from an "overabundance" of drivers with handicapped license places or placards parking for free in metered spots, the Chicago Sun-Times, which broke the story, reports.
The company estimates they have lost $17.9 million from giving away those parking spots, while the city is only allowed $4.4 million worth of "lost revenue" from disabled drivers parking in metered spots, according to The Expired Meter.
Both the company and the city say some of the lost revenue can be attributed to drivers who are either not legitimately disabled or are using forged or expired placards or license places so they can park at meters for free, the Sun-Times reports.
Wednesday, the City Council will consider Emanuel's proposal to crack down on fraudulent use of disabled parking privileges. The plan increases the penalty for those caught scamming the system with fines and fees of over $1,000, plus the risk of vehicle impoundment.
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