Audit: Pittsburgh parking authority can't account for 380 old meters

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Pittsburgh Parking Authority either failed to account for 380 of the parking meters it removed or miscounted them, according to an audit by city Controller Michael Lamb's office.

The audit released Tuesday said the authority could not account for 380 meters out of about 3,800 removed and replaced by automated multispace kiosks. Mr. Lamb said the issue has been referred to the district attorney's office to determine whether a crime occurred, but a spokesman for the office said investigators haven't had an opportunity to review the audit yet.

David Onorato, executive director of the parking authority, said he disagreed with the audit's conclusion that meters weren't accounted for because only about 3,500 were removed. The discrepancy may have occurred because of the way the authority counted the meters, he said.

"It's kind of questionable what happened there," Mr. Lamb said, noting that no one from the authority was overseeing work by a private contractor removing the meters and installing the new devices. "At the end of the day, we're not talking about a huge amount of money."

Mr. Onorato said the authority had employees reviewing the contractor's work at the end of every day.

The audit showed the authority's revenue from street parking increased by nearly 50 percent, from $494,780 in January 2012 to $735,938 in January 2013. Mr. Lamb attributed the increase to higher rates and more vehicles being able to park on streets served by the kiosks rather than meters.

Mr. Onorato also said a parts warehouse was emptied on an emergency basis after part of the pile fell on an employee and the contractor was given the scrap as pay for removal. Other parts the audit said were accounted for were scrapped because they could no longer be used, he said.

The authority is in the process of replacing 6,800 meters with multispace kiosks where the driver enters a license plate number when he pays.

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Ed Blazina: eblazina@post-gazette.com or 412-263-1470.


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