N4T Investigators: Parking Promises - KVOA | KVOA.com | Tucson, Arizona

N4T Investigators: Parking Promises

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TUCSON- Is this questionable integrity?

One Tucson neighborhood association wants the city to make good on something promised to them more than 30 years ago. This all centers around the residential parking permit program. The News 4 Tucson Investigators found out that promise now comes with a new catch.

"It was more of a parking lot than it was neighborhood street," said Mark Homan, who lives in Rincon Heights and described his street prior to 1983.

"It created a very unsafe condition both for drivers, for pedestrians and for the children and families living here," he added.

He showed us a placard, which ensured only people who lived on his street would be allowed to park during certain hours.

"And as you can see now, I'm able to park my truck in front of my house," said Homan.

He was one of the first Tucsonans to pay into the Residential Parking Permit Program. Homan saw it has a win-win. For about $2 a year, it cut down on traffic and kept his street relatively clear.

"They promised us that all the money that we would generate here, a portion of that would be returned to us so that we can reinvest it in the neighborhood," said Homan.

But he said he and his neighbors never saw a dime.

Homan explained the city installed some parking meters nearby, once again promising to apparently share the revenue, but that never happened.

"They haven't been investing a lot into this program certainly until 2010 what they contributed was it was a essentially a free service," said Park Tucson administrator Donovan Durband.

Durband said the program never broke even.

"What I can say is my predecessors made some commitments and we've tried to honor them," said Durband.

Durband couldn't answer whether Park Tucson's predecessor "Parkwise" misled people or perhaps wasn't realistic about the program's revenue. However, he said Park Tucson will now honor the city's reinvestment promise. But in order to qualify, each neighborhood needs to have a 25% participation rate.

"That's a bait and switch, and again it circles back to integrity," said Councilman Steve Kozachik.

He feels the city needs to honor that promise because many were led to believe their property values and quality of life would increase.

"You don't tell somebody you're going to do something then change the rules of the game and say oh by the way we can't do it any longer," said Kozachik.

About six years ago, "Parkwise" raised the permit fees from $2.50 to $48. That's something Homan says was the deciding factor for why many on his block dropped out of the program. He says right now, Rincon Heights, does not qualify for any reinvestment dollars.

"These rules we've established are basically just for year one so we'll be going, we'll be revisiting this every year as we do this to try and have it make  more sense and try to make it more fair," said Durband.

"We kind of feel like we should have a 'kick me' sign on the back of us," said Homan.

Park Tucson is considered a special revenue fund meaning its budget doesn't come from the city's general fund or from taxpayer money. Its source of revenue is generated by the parking garages and parking permits.

If you have a story for the N4T Investigators, email investigators@kvoa.com or call the tipline 520-955-4444.

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