If you want to start a political argument in Cincinnati these days, bring up the subject of parking meters. There’s an election for mayor Nov. 5, and while there are plenty of important issues on the table, the one that seems to excite voters the most is the question of who should run the city’s parking system—the local government itself or a consortium of private companies led by the Xerox Corp.?
A few months ago, the city council voted narrowly to make a deal with the private companies, and so far that agreement has survived a pair of court challenges. If it continues to pass judicial muster, the city would receive a lump sum payment of roughly $90 million, plus a check for $3 million every year for the next 10 and probably 30 years. In return, the agreement would give Xerox the management rights to 5,000 metered spaces scattered around Cincinnati.