City Council Approves Parking Meter Lease Deal

December 4, 2008

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At a special city council session today, Chicago aldermen approved an ordinance to privatize the city's parking meters.

Mayor Richard Daley could be seen smiling throughout most of the vote, as aldermen approved the $1.2-billion lease, which lasts for the next 75 years. Many aldermen complained about the sharp hourly rate increases at the meters, which brought out varied reactions. Ed Smith was introspective.

SMITH: I had to do a lot of soul-searching.

Billy Ocasio was dramatic, shaking an empty piggy bank.

OCASIO: You know what this is the sound of? Not having anything in the piggy bank!

And Dick Mell went with the brutally honest approach, after aldermen grumbled about having to vote for the deal just three days after getting the details.

MELL: Would we like to have more time? Come on. How many of us read the stuff when we do get it? Ok?

In the end, the meter lease deal passed with 40 votes for, five against, and five absent.