By Mike Dunn
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) - Buried in the fine print of the Parking Authority's just-approved budget: we're doing a better job of parking legally in Philadelphia.
The budget for the coming year -- adopted Monday by the Parking Authority's board -- predicts that the on-street division will see a $4 million decline in net revenue -- essentially profit that is forwarded to the city and school district.
PPA executive director Vince Fennerty says fewer drivers are breaking the parking rules, resulting in fewer tickets. And he says the new parking kiosks in Center City and University City have made it easier to comply, since you can pay by credit card or dollar bills.
"Over the last several years there has been more compliance with parking regulations in Philadelphia." More people are paying at kiosks. More people are parking legally, not parking at hydrants, or double parking and parking at no-stopping zones. So, naturally more compliance means less tickets."
That revenue decline is steep: the Authority predicts a payment to the city next year of $43.6 million dollars, compared to $47.4 million expected in the current year.
Another factor driving the decline: a new notification system for those who do get tickets. Instead of a late-payment penalty being imposed after 15 days, you now get a warning letter at that point. The penalty comes ten days after that.
Fennerty says the delayed penalties also caused revenues to drop. "The public seems to like it better. It's a good idea. But, unfortunately there's a little bit of revenue decline due to it."
Fennerty admits all this means less money from parking tickets going to the cash-strapped city and School District. "That's true. But, better parking habits mean more shoppers, more people coming in to Philadelphia to do business. And, tax revenue is made up in another way."
And the chief of the Parking Authority insists that he is pleased to see fewer people getting tickets.
"That is the target of any on-street (enforcement) program: to have people comply with the parking regulations."
for more features.