Mayor Perez Offers Proposal That Would Give Rights To The Lot To City's Parking Authority
February 27, 2007
By DANIEL E. GOREN, Courant Staff Writer
In the wake of a controversial no-bid parking contract given by Mayor Eddie A. Perez to a political powerbroker in Hartford's North End, the city council Monday sent to committee two proposals from the mayor that would put an end to the deal.
Perez gave the potentially lucrative no-bid contract to Abraham L. Giles, a former state representative who is said to control key votes in the city's Democratic town committee. The deal was signed by Perez and Giles on Nov. 1, 2006, despite the city's own parking authority expressing interest in the lot to officials in the mayor's office months earlier.
The city council was also not informed of the deal.
The first proposal from Perez would require similar agreements that are longer than 90 days to be approved by the council. The second would give the rights to the parking lot, located at 1214 Main St., to the city's parking authority, which claims it can make the lot safer and earn more money a year.
Since disclosure of the contract by The Courant, the mayor has been under political fire to rescind the deal and put it out to bid. Also, the city's practice of entering license agreements without city council knowledge or approval has been called into question.
For the right to manage the 225-space lot, Giles pays the city $12,000 a year in rent. According to a proposal written by James Kopencey, the executive director of the city's parking authority, his agency could make at least $23,000 more in profit a year while staffing the lot for longer hours and making it safer for motorists. Also, Kopencey suggested spending $350,000 to secure and clean up the lot, which now has broken fences, lights and guardrails as well as plenty of debris sitting on the property.
With Kopencey's proposal attached, Perez sent a resolution for the council to approve that would turn the lot over to the parking authority to manage. The council forwarded the resolution to its planning and economic development committee for further discussion.
The mayor also sent a proposed ordinance change to the council that would give the city's lawmakers the power to reject any license agreements longer than 90 days in length, such as the 18-month deal given to Giles. The council will also discuss the changes in committee and hold a public hearing on the matter March 19.
Reprinted with permission of the Hartford Courant.
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