|Budget Issue:||Reject proposed State parking garage repairs|
|Finding or Recommendation:||Reject the Governor's January proposal for $1.1 million in special repairs to the Sacramento State Garage.|
The Department of General Services (DGS) operates and maintains 21 parking garages and lots throughout the state that are used by state employees. The parking program is funded from the parking fees collected from the monthly and daily users of the facilities. In 2012-13, the estimated total revenue from the parking program is about $3.4 million. Approximately $2.3 million pays for operating costs and general maintenance of the garages and lots, while the remaining $1.1 million pays debt service on lease-revenue bonds. The lease-revenue bond payment was fully repaid in December 2012, meaning that these funds are now available for other parking-related purposes.
The Governor proposes to permanently augment the parking program’s operations budget by $1.1 million to fund deferred maintenance and special repairs in the Sacramento State Garage—one of the 21 lots and garages in the state parking program. Funding the repairs would not affect the parking rates charged to state employees because the proposal would use funds previously dedicated to the lease-revenue bond. A 2009 infrastructure study identified several structural, mechanical, and electrical deficiencies in this garage. The DGS states that these repairs will be performed over the next five years on a priority basis.
Request Is Premature. At this time, DGS is unable to clearly identify the scope of the repairs and upgrades it plans to implement with the proposed increase in annual funding. For example, the documentation provided by DGS states that some funding would be used for a new elevator, although subsequent conversations with the operators of the garage suggest an elevator may not be necessary or feasible. Additionally, DGS has not completed infrastructure studies of the remaining 20 parking facilities. As a result, it is unclear if there are higher priority repairs in those garages that should be funded prior to repairs in the Sacramento garage. It appears that the department is focusing on the Sacramento garage because it is the only facility with a complete infrastructure study and not because it is the most in need of repair.
Cost Sharing Plan Is Unclear. The Sacramento State Garage is unique among the 21 lots and facilities in the parking program because the space is shared with DGS’ monthly and daily rental program. The rental program allows state departments to lease cars from DGS for state business. The rental program occupies a significant amount of space in the Sacramento garage. Accordingly, the revenue from the rental program should pay for a share of the deferred maintenance and special repair costs, as the repairs would benefit the rental program as well as the parking program. At this time, however, DGS has not detailed how the costs would be shared between these two programs.
We recommend that the Legislature reject the proposal to permanently augment the state’s parking program by $1.1 million for special repairs in the Sacramento State Garage. In our view, it does not make sense to dedicate funding solely to this facility when the scope of the work is undefined, higher priority repairs may exist in other facilities, and the plan for sharing the costs between the two users of the garage has not been provided.
Instead, we recommend the Legislature redirect a portion of the $1.1 million for DGS to perform infrastructure studies on the remaining 20 parking facilities. Once these are complete, DGS could provide a more detailed budget request for special repair funding that addresses the highest repair priorities throughout the state. At that time, DGS also could provide more information on how the cost of any repairs in the Sacramento garage would be shared between the parking and rental programs.