The city failed to collect or lost some $120,000 in revenue from residential parking permits due to poor management, according to reports released by the Oakland city auditor this week.

According to auditor Courtney A. Ruby, the city’s weak oversight of parking permit agreements with two hospitals and a school resulted in the uncollected or mishandled fees.

The groups that were obligated to pay for residential permits, due to their impacts on surrounding neighborhoods, are Kaiser Permanente Hospital, Head-Royce School and Highland Hospital. The audit primarily focused on fiscal years 2006-07 through 2008-09. Parking management changed in February 2009.

“Overall, the audit found parking management had poor oversight of relationships with third-party entities,” the report reads. “The audit found that the city did not have formalized agreements approved through a City Council ordinance for Kaiser and Head-Royce School.”

The audit also found that the city unknowingly subsidized $85,000 worth of permit fees for some West Oakland residents over the last 17 years. The subsidy was due to the confusion over whether or not the Bay Area Rapid Transit agency was supposed to pay for the permits.

The city’s community and economic development department informed parking management that BART was to pay for the permits, but no agreement with BART was found. Beginning in fiscal year 2008-09, the West Oakland residents were charged the permit fee. However, the audit found that this violated a city resolution, which waives permit fees for those residents.

This information is found in one report related to revenue and costs for the city’s parking permit program. Two other reports also released this week related to permit parking found the following:

•    The City Council has not set user fee policies to govern intended cost recovery, which impacts all city fees.
•    Parking management lacked a comprehensive framework to provide complete financial analyses.
•    The weak management systems created operational inefficiencies and customer dissatisfaction.
•    Residential parking permits were issued to residents who owed a combined $20,000 in outstanding Oakland parking citations.
•    In addition, the audit says, parking management could not find reimbursement agreements creating financial responsibility for payment of parking permits by Kaiser, Head-Royce and Highland.

A June 15 letter signed by parking operations director Noel Pinto said the city has signed a new long-term contract with Kaiser and will negotiate a new contract with Head-Royce School. In regards to West Oakland, parking management will submit a resolution to the City Council to formally rescind the 1991 resolution that waived the permit fees for those residents.

The auditor notes that the city has begun implementing the audits’ recommendations to fix the problems.

“However, it is incumbent upon the administration to not only fix system failures identified in this report series — but to identify similar failures throughout the city and address them with haste,” Ruby said in a release.

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