CHICAGO
05/10/2013 02:36 pm ET

Chicago Parking Meter Deal: Some Aldermen Gun-Shy As Mayor Pushes Renegotiated Plan In City Council

Chicago's City Council has a long track record of falling in lock-step with the mayor's agenda, but Rahm Emanuel's recently renegotiated city parking meter deal is at last getting pushback from some aldermen.

A week after Emanuel announced the new deal stemming from terms of a settlement with Chicago Parking Meters LLC, Chicago aldermen finally have actual details on the re-worked plan. Aldermen also have 30 days to approve the deal — unlike former Mayor Daley's original plan which was forced through the council in just three days.

Under terms of the new deal, the mayor's office has insisted the city will reap an estimated $1 billion in savings on additional charges over the life of the 75-year contract.

Ald. Brendan Reilly (42nd) isn't so sure; Reilly, whose downtown ward gets the bum end of the deal that includes the return of free Sunday parking but extended hours six other days a week, is among the most vocally opposed to the contract.

"Nothing is free. This amounts to taking money out of your right pocket and putting it in your left," Reilly said earlier according to ABC Chicago. According to the Sun-Times, Reilly has questioned whether the swap is a hidden windfall for CPM.

Reilly and others opposed have said the city should "drop the swap" and just pay CPM $63.8 million in disputed claims over alleged lost revenue due to things like city-mandated street closures for construction or festivals.

Ald. Ameya Pawar (47th) told the Tribune editorial board Thursday he and other aldermen need "far more information" about the aspects of the deal not related to the settlement.

“My question is: ‘Are they making additional dollars? Is this revenue neutral for CPM or are they making money?’” Pawar said. “Because if they’re making money, it looks like to me that we have simply shifted the burden to the consumer and created a system where they’re going to make more money over time.”

Despite the pushback from select aldermen, 24 of the City Council members nonetheless backed Emanuel's plan Thursday, the Sun-Times reports.

Ald. Howard Brookins (21st), chairman of the City Council’s Black Caucus said he's giving Emanuel's team the "benefit of the doubt" that the windfall from the new deal outweighs the negatives of extending weekday metered parking hours.

With two dozen aldermen supporting the deal, the mayor's plan is just two votes shy of the majority needed to pass through the City Council.

Earlier this week, new financial reports revealed CPM enjoyed a $30 million surge in meter revenue last year.

As the mayor angles for aldermanic support to approve his deal, the old days of pre-meter parking aren't looking so bad:

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