IPSWICH Council’s decision to continue to charge motorists to park in the Nicholas Street carpark has become a financial embarrassment with council going backwards $6000 last year despite collecting $453,000 in fees.
Extracting car parking information from the council’s Nicholas Street Precinct team took more than three weeks with answers continually skirting around the facts and avoiding details.
This special council department claimed commercial in-confidence in refusing to provide a breakdown on what they paid Sydney based managers of the carpark, Point Parking, in 2022, but they did admit the overall cost to run the carpark last year was $459,000 leaving a shortfall of around $6000 for ratepayers to pick up.
The only figure they did give up is already on the online council financial information site which reveals Point Parking was handed a cheque for $212,559 for the 2020-2021 year.
Council’s tough stance on motorists parking illegally on the streets last year was also highlighted in the figures extracted from council.
They showed that council’s two infringement officers booked 6655 cars, while 2955 more drivers were issued infringements by other council officers.
Council was particularly active in the last three months of last year booking 3060 drivers which equated to $451,459 in fines.
They also revealed that Citywide parking meter revenue, including both on-street parking and off-street parking other than the Nicholas Street Precinct carpark, was $867,790 for the 2022 calendar year.
However, the operating cost for street parking meters, including maintenance, coin collection and security for the 2022 calendar year was $333,513.
Following our breaking story in January around the parking blitz the council’s latest reply sought to qualify the figure in saying that fines issued did not always equal revenue received.
The in part reasoning behind this was that some motorists didn’t pay and that some people challenged fines successfully and have them waived.
When asked to clarify this council admitted that only a small percentage of fines totalling 388 were fully dismissed, while many others were adjusted for such things as to correct the name of the drivers responsible for the infringement.
In further parking news surrounding the CBD council has cracked down on people using the loss making Nicholas Street carpark who have been avoiding paying fees by leaving and returning quickly before the three hour free period had expired.
This had enabled them to have six hours of free parking time. The majority of those doing this are thought to be CBD workers who can’t find any undercover free long term carparks.
Council has now installed number plate recognition technology at the carpark at a cost of $202,000 which means you will now be on the meter if you leave the carpark and return.
The cost to park in the carpark all day sets workers back $40 a week, but only for those who can arrive before 8.30am to get the early morning $8 a day discount.
If you arrive after 9am and stay for more than seven hours it will take $125 a week out of your weekly pay-packet.
A review of the carpark over the past month has revealed that it always has hundreds of empty spaces.
Adding the totals collected in fines and parking revenue reveals that Ipswich Council pulled in an estimated $2.679million in 2022 and paid out around $800,000 to do it.
The council has said for the past few months that it was undertaking a CBD parking review, but the draft has yet to be released.
After reading this story the public may be keen to see it.