There's a shortage of parking in some San Diego communities and the city's community parking district program isn't much help addressing that shortage.
In a recent audit, the city auditor's office found holes in the city's management of San Diego's six community parking districts. The districts, established in 1997, are managed by nonprofits throughout the city. Forty-five percent of annual parking-meter revenue goes toward funding for the program — the city keeps the remaining 55 percent. Currently, four nonprofits manage the six districts in downtown, Hillcrest, and surrounding Uptown communities, University Heights, and portions of El Cajon Boulevard.
In recent years, community members in downtown and Uptown have criticized the nonprofit parking districts for exorbitant salaries and high overhead as well as lack of results.
In 2011, a county grand jury found Uptown Partnership, the organizations that managed the program in Hillcrest, Mission Hills, and Bankers Hill, spent three times the amount on overhead as it did on parking improvements. That group was later disbanded and has since undergone reorganization.
Three years later, city auditors have taken another look at community parking districts. There's still room for improvement, for the city and the nonprofits in charge.
The audit report, to be presented to the Audit Committee on November 20, found the program to be run on "informal procedures." Because of that, the city is not able to "measure or monitor program outcomes to determine if parking meter revenues are being used efficiently and effectively. Without documented formal procedures, performance measurement, and monitoring, key program stakeholders are not able to assess if the program is meeting the goals of [the program]…. The processes used to administer this program have not been fully developed and documented to mitigate the risk of loss of institutional knowledge."
In addition, the city is not monitoring money spent on the program. Tracking revenue and expenditures on an annual basis, wrote city auditors, does not provide the community parking districts with enough information and performance measures.
"[T]he program lacks formal project management and oversight procedures to ensure city-implemented projects are completed in a timely and consistent manner. To improve program administration and to ensure the program is meeting the goals of the [community parking district] program, we recommend that Economic Development develop formal, documented guidance that details the processes used to manage CPD funds and expenditures, as well as procedures needed to implement and monitor parking projects from start to finish."
The Audit Committee will discuss the report during their 9 a.m. meeting in the council committee room on November 20.