Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Norick: City May Run All Public Garages to Bail out Cotpa

Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Norick: City May Run All Public Garages to Bail out Cotpa

Article excerpt

last resort, Oklahoma City Mayor Ron Norick said Thursday the city could take over the operation of all publicly-operated parking garages as one way to bail the Central Oklahoma Transportation and Parking Authority (COTPA) out of its current financial woes.

COTPA faces a $4 million debt service payment in July, a bill some other city agency or trust may have to pay if a way is not found for COTPA to come up with the money, said Norick.

That however, is not going to solve COTPA's long-term problem, because the trust has another payment due in July 1989 and one due in July 1990, and so on, the mayor said.

One possible way to alleviate COTPA's problems, said Norick, would be for the city to take over the 8,325 spaces in the six publicly-owned or COTPA-operated parking garages and combine them with 1,300 parking spaces owned and operated by the Oklahoma City Urban Renewal Authority.

Those 1,300 spaces owned by the Urban Renewal Authority are in direct competition with COTPA-owned spaces, Norick said, contributing to the imbalance that currently exists between parking space supply and parking space demand.

They include a small lot in the northwest corner of the Galleria area, a lot south of City Hall, two lots north of the Civic Center Music Hall and a lot across the street to the north of the Myriad Convention Center.

Oklahoma City currently has about 28,000 parking spaces, 18,000 of which are vacant, the mayor said.

Norick said the 1-cent sales tax recommended by a special committee looking into COTPA's problems was "a last resort" as a means to rehabilitate COTPA's finances.

Other ideas put forth by the three-man committee included:

- Refinancing COTPA's debt, which currently maintains a $34 million book value.

- Selling the parking facilities at a loss and financing the loss with a smaller tax increase.

- Allowing COTPA to call in the cross-pledge support that already exists between that trust and the Oklahoma City Municipal Improvement Authority. …

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