The council budget for 2022/2023 was adopted last week, with the officer report stating that council is facing a loss in excess of $50 million from COVID:
The Municipal Monitor’s report was also released last week, stating that council’s current financial position is unsustainable:
The Annual Plan for 2022/2023 was also adopted last week, offering a hint as to a solution:
How e-permits can eliminate the structural deficit
Digital parking permits, or e-permits, offer a solution to council’s structural deficit because they offer a simple, effective, and low-cost way of charging commuters to park on Yarra’s streets. Although Yarra has already installed parking meters for over 2,000 of the total of 47,000 on-street bays, they aren’t scalable across the whole of Yarra, while e-permits are.
Yarra can roll out paid parking for commuters across the whole municipality by changing the parking signs from time-restricted (e.g. 2-hour or 4-hour) to permit zone:
Clearly, existing residential and business permits would remain valid for these permit zones. Commuters would purchase a digital permit using a smartphone app. Pricing could be set at a low rate, e.g. $10 per day, with the first hour free to support traders. Pricing could also vary across the municipality, e.g. $20 per day in Collingwood or Cremorne, and $5 per day in Clifton Hill or Burnley. Many options exist for implementation, for example:
- 4,000 bays at an average of $10/day for 250 days/year would raise $10 million per year
- 10,000 bays at an average of $10/day for 250 days/year would raise $25 million per year
- 20,000 bays at an average of $10/day for 250 days/year would raise $50 million per year
What could council do with $50 million per year?
With an extra income of $50 million per year, in a single 4-year term council could:
- pay off all loans,
- acquire land for significant new public open space,
- fund reviews required to support Design and Development Overlays (DDOs),
- increase funding for active transport to $10 million per year, and
- still have money left over to invest in other services.
Decisions…avoided by previous Councils
We interpret the report from the Municipal Monitor to mean that reform to on-street parking is one of the decisions avoided by previous Councils. We encourage this Council to accelerate action #38 of the annual plan, not only because it is material to our budget, but because it would place council in a strong position to continue to fund a range of services that help deliver social justice.
Published 26th June 2022.