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Inside City Hall: Parking garage operators get no-bid extensions

A range of management fees charged to the Parking Authority.

In a little-noticed item approved without comment on Wednesday, the Board of Estimates signed off on no-bid extensions of management contracts to run some of the city’s main parking garages.

The deal, requested by the Parking Authority for Baltimore City, obliges the quasi-public agency to pay $3.57 million in management fees to four operators, led by the ubiquitous PMS Parking group headed by Amsale Geletu, a certified woman-owned business.

PMS, Landmark Parking, LAZ Parking Mid-Atlantic and Republic Parking Systems were awarded the management contracts some 15 months ago.

The contracts were set to expire tomorrow (June 30), but the parking agency blew the deadline for writing up new agreements. Hence, the old contracts will stay in effect until December 31, 2013.

Pricey parking: The Penn Station Garage boasts the highest management fee per space under a contract approved by the Board of Estimates. (Photo by Mark Reutter)

The Penn Station Garage boasts the highest management fee per space under a contract approved by the Board of Estimates. (Photo by Mark Reutter)

All this was explained in the unique nomenclature of the Board of Estimates agenda: “. . . efforts [to write the new agreements] have been delayed due to the Parking Authority experiencing significant disruption in the personnel charged with oversight and administration of this and other management agreements, and the procurement of new management agreements.”

As a result, “This amendment to the original agreement provides additional funding to pay for anticipated operating expenses and compensates the organization during the extended term upon the original compensation structure.”

Costs Vary Among Garages

The breakdowns of the individual parking contracts provide some interesting reading. Take the cost of security over the 18-month extension period.

Republic Parking will be paid $211,000 for providing security at the Lexington Market parking garage. (Photo by Mark Reutter)

Republic Parking will be paid $211,000 for providing security at the Lexington Market parking garage. (Photo by Mark Reutter)

It ranges from a low of $4,000 for the Fleet and Eden Garage in Fells Point to a high of $211,000 for the Market Center Garage serving Lexington Market.

The charges for maintenance also vary widely.

PMS will maintain and repair the 376-space Franklin Street Garage for $275,888 under the extended agreement.

Landmark, on the other hand, is authorized to bill the city 2½ times that amount ($670,000) for the somewhat larger (525 space) Penn Station Garage.

Even with its high security costs, Market Center is not the costliest municipal garage under private management.

That honor goes to the Penn Station Garage used chiefly by Amtrak and MARC customers. The management fee over the next 18 months amounts to $1,533 per parking space.

Quasi-Public

The Parking Authority is one of those quasi-public governmental entities – others include the Baltimore Development Corp. and Baltimore Hotel Corp., owner of Hilton Baltimore – whose stated mission is “to enhance Baltimore City’s position in planning, development, management and operations of its parking institution.”

Its budget is not part of the annual city budget approved by the City Council. Its five-member board consists of four people appointed by the mayor and one by the City Council president. The direct link to the mayor is through Director of Finance Harry E. Black, who sits on the board.

In addition to administering 17 municipal garages and 23 surface lots, the Parking Authority operates the residential parking permit program.
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Here is a breakdown of the fees to be charged for the extended contracts:

Caroline St. Garage, 325 spaces, operator PMS, management fee: $350,027, or $1,077 per space.

Little Italy Garage, 399 spaces, operator PMS, management fee: $387,363, or $971 per space.

St. Paul Place Garage, 500 spaces, operator PMS and LAZ Parking Mid-Atlantic, management fee: $533,668, or $1,067 per space.

Franklin St. Garage, 376 spaces, operators PMS and LAZ Parking Mid-Atlantic, management fee: $331,888, or $883 per space.

Market Center Garage, 606 spaces, operator Republic Parking Systems, management fee: $651,791, or $1,076 per space.

Penn Station Garage, 525 spaces, operator Landmark Parking,  management fee: $804,933, or $1,533 per space.

Fleet and Eden Garage, 815 spaces, operator, Landmark Parking, management fee: $507,273, or $622 per space.

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  • Cwals99

    Between using taxpayer money to manage these parking spaces and the city’s use of business tax credits to have taxpayers build the underground parking for private commercial buildings, you would think the public would get a break on parking rates……oh, wait private means profit not quality for people.

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