Board of Regents look at parking fees, Leath gives university report


Emily Hecht & Chris Sible/Iowa State Daily

In the fiscal year 2013, the parking division at Iowa State made $3,939,432 in revenues which is separated into permits, fines, meters, events, and other miscellaneous parking fees. Other data include fun facts about the parking and transportation around Iowa State’s campus.

Danielle Ferguson

Iowa State’s request to increase parking fees has made it through the next step in the Board of Regents process at the board’s Wednesday meeting in Iowa City.

The docket item received no discussion at the meeting and a final decision on the proposed increase is set for the April meeting.

Iowa State is looking to increase the illegal parking fee from $30 to $40 and the parking without an appropriate permit fee from $25 to $30.

Mark Miller, parking manager for the ISU parking division, said these increases are in part to deter people from parking where they aren’t supposed to park.

The last time parking division raised fees on meters, prepaid lots and illegal parking, less revenue was brought in, Miller said. The illegal parking increase was from $15 to $30 three or four years ago, he said. The fine for stealing a permit went up from $80 to $150.

“When you raise the fines, it makes people more compliant,” Miller said. “At least, that’s the goal.”

Miller said Iowa State’s fees for reserve parking are relatively low compared to peer universities, but when it comes to fines on illegal parking or altering or counterfeiting permits, Iowa State is on the higher end.

He said this is because people who pay the higher prices for those more entitled lots deserve to have their parking spot.

“A permit holder on a reserved lot is paying close to $500 to park there and students or other staff are pulling in there and the [permit holders] can’t find a place to park.” Miller said.

Parking is self-supporting and as other costs increase, parking must also raise their prices to maintain and support current and future projects, Miller said.

When Miller was asked about students’ complaints about lack of parking, he said there is probably always parking somewhere.

“When people say there’s no parking, a lot of times that means there’s no close parking,” Miller said. “There is [available parking], but it’s just farther away. ”

Miller said there is more parking on campus now than there was five years ago. With current departments moving offices, there will be about 75 more parking spaces to help take pressure off campus, Miller said.

The parking division is currently looking into several small projects, Miller said, such as filling in cracks as part of a seal coating plan to extend the lives of lots.

New initiatives for parking division include smart cards in the parking meters as an easier payment method.

Miller said parking division is looking into creating an app to show available meters and pay lots on campus, but that it’s still in the works and would cost quite a bit of money. A sensor would have to be put into each meter to read to the app when available.

The final decision on the proposed parking increases is set for the April Board of Regents meeting.

The board also received a report from President Steven Leath, who spoke on the progress of his presidential high impact initiative to hire 200 new faculty members within his first two or three years of working for Iowa State.

Since his instillation, about 140 new faculty members have been hired and Iowa State has 114 openings, Leath said.

“We’re trying to hire to faculty to deal with our growth. We’re trying to meet the teaching needs of high enrollment programs,” Leath said.

Leath said faculty resignation is the lowest it’s been in 10 years.

Earlier in the day, the regent meeting was interrupted by a group of University of Iowa student protestors protesting the consultant choice, Deloitte, for the Efficiency and Transform Review study.

The group chanted, “Ditch Deloitte. Stop the audit.”

The review would look at each university’s efficiency and make recommendations.

John McCarroll, university relations, said he didn’t know why they were protesting the subject, but that there was no confrontation and they were escorted out by University of Iowa plain-clothed security.

The Board of Regents is a group of nine volunteer citizens who govern Iowa’s public universities and two special K-12 schools: the Iowa Braille and Sight Saving School and the Iowa School for the Deaf.