Firm awarded parking contract by former Baton Rouge mayor frustrated Broome hasn’t finalized the deal
Officials with Atlanta-based Lanier Parking Solutions—which heads a team that was awarded a Baton Rouge contract in late 2016 to modernize and manage public parking downtown—are increasingly frustrated the contract was never executed and that Mayor Sharon Weston Broome’s administration now says the proposal is too expensive and may need to be scrapped altogether.
Lanier Senior Vice President Steve Resnick says he has sought a meeting with city-parish officials several times in recent months to clear up what he believes is a misunderstanding about the proposal put forward by his group, Park Baton Rouge. But Resnick says he has been unable to get anyone in the administration to sit down with him or his team’s representatives.
“Park Baton Rouge is hopeful the city will grant a meeting forthwith so we can quickly clear up any remaining confusion and commence with the operations outlined in the (request for proposals) and (Park Baton Rouge’s) proposal,” he says.
More than 15 months ago, then-Mayor Kip Holden’s administration selected a proposal from Park Baton Rouge after a lengthy procurement process and at least two pricey consultant reports to overhaul and manage parking at three city-owned garages, including the Raising Cane’s River Center garages. The proposal also included installation and management of new smart parking meters that would replace the outdated coin-operated meters.
But when the Broome administration came in, it began reviewing the proposal and months later concluded it is too expensive because the projected income generated by parking revenues would be insufficient to cover the city’s expenses.
Under the terms of the proposal, Park Baton Rouge would receive a base management fee of $48,000 per year, plus an incentive management fee of 35% of parking revenues in excess of $1.25 million a year as well as 25% of revenues in excess of $1.6 million.
“In my mind, that’s not the best deal for the city,” Chief Administrative Officer Darryl Gissel says. “Before we commit to something we want to make sure it’s in the best interest of the city.”
Resnick says the proposal is fair and was the most competitive—with a low annual management fee and incentives tied directly to increasing parking revenues. He says it closely mirrors what the city’s own request for proposals sought.
“This was all designed to protect the city and equitably compensate Park Baton Rouge for its efforts,” he says, adding the city could be losing out on as much as $3 million a year by failing to move forward with the modernization of its outdated parking system.
But city officials say the incentive fees appear to be exceedingly generous, even though they don’t kick in until parking revenues hit $1.25 million. Gissel says with new equipment in place it shouldn’t be that difficult for the city to generate that much in parking revenues even without the help of a management team.
Gissel stops short of criticizing the proposals request drafted by the Holden administration and its consultant, Portland, Oregon-based John Fregonese. But he says the current administration needs to do more research before meeting with Park Baton Rouge officials about how to move forward. Resnick says his team can help provide some of that information.
“We’ll meet with them when we are ready,” Gissel says. “But it doesn’t make sense to waste his time and our time if we’re not ready.”