The Ohio State Board of Trustees authorized officials to search for a qualified vendor to maintain the parking system at OSU.
Chief financial officer of the university Geoff Chatas said that the university is continuously looking to leverage its assets to advance the academic mission.
“We would be looking at raising money by bringing in an outside operator to operate these assets on our behalf,” Chatas said. “We would continue to own these assets.”
Chatas is recommending a 50-year lease of the parking system at the university. The lease, Chatas said, could bring in as much as $375 million to the university.
Chatas also said that the while the system would be privatized, there would be some regulations as to parking rates.
“We would look at a cap in the first ten years of the concession agreement; a maximum of 7 and a half percent annual increases,” Chatas said. “This is based on the historical 10-year average increases we’ve had at the university.”
Nick Messenger, president of Undergraduate Student Government, voiced some concerns over the new system.
“One of the biggest concerns is the changing of the services,” Messenger said.
Transportation and Parking currently offers services such as on-campus jump-starts, air for low tires and assistance if you lock your keys in your car. Messenger fears that some of these services would no longer be available through the private company.
“The big issue for students is when you call to fix a problem with your parking permit or with transportation, you might not be talking to someone on our campus, or who has never been on our campus,” Messenger said.
Messenger said there is a big opportunity for the university through this deal, but there are several steps that need to be taken to assure these concerns are addressed.
OSU would be the first university to privatize its parking system, and because of that, Messenger said there will be a lot of interest in the opportunity.
One aspect of the proposal that opponents disapprove of is that under the new system, 70 current employees would be without a job from the university. Chatas said the employees can seek employment at the private company, or seek employment at other positions within the university.
Chatas said the company that is chosen to would have to agree to customer service, maintenance, and operation standards.
University approves budget
The Board of Trustees also approved the fiscal year 2012 budget. The approval states that the university has a $4.9 billion operating budget for all campuses.
This budget is a 4.8 percent increase from the 2011 fiscal year budget. Part of the FY 2012 budget is a 2.6 percent increase for the Columbus campus general fund.
As part of the budget, the university set plans to forge “One” Ohio State University, put students first and focus on faculty success.
Full text of the FY 2012 budget can be found here: http://www.rpia.ohio-state.edu/cfb/