Traffic body owes councils cash from parking meters: court.
Summary: The Traffic, Trucks and Vehicles Management Authority owes several municipalities almost all of the profits it made from parking meters in their areas, the Court of Audit ruled Tuesday.
BEIRUT: The Traffic, Trucks and Vehicles Management Authority owes several municipalities almost all of the profits it made from parking meters in their areas, the Court of Audit ruled Tuesday. In April, Beirut I MP Hagop Terzian had filed a complaint on behalf of the Beirut, Burj Hammoud, Dikwaneh, Hazmieh, Hadath and Sin al-Fil municipalities, alleging that they had not once received their parking meter dues from the traffic management authority since signing their contract with it.
Terzian told The Daily Star Tuesday that the contracts, though vague, required the authority to pay the municipalities their dues based on their financial statements.
The authority argued that it hadn't paid the municipalities the funds at least in part because the cost of implementing the meters was almost equivalent to the profits it made from them.
The court appears to have rejected that explanation, and also noted other problems, such as the fact that projects were being funded using the money owed to the municipalities without the municipalities' knowledge. For example, the authority was using the money to install street signs - even though the municipalities were simultaneously putting up the signs.
According to the court's decision, released Monday and publicized Tuesday, all of the municipalities, except Beirut, should receive 85-90 percent of the profits from the parking meters, with 10-15 percent going to the authority. However, the court stopped short of directly ordering the authority to pay the money.
The Daily Star was unable to reach the Traffic, Trucks and Vehicles Management Authority for comment. The court's decision called for the signing parties to commit to the contracts and to have a clear mechanism for calculating the parking meters' costs and profits, and for the municipalities to receive the data regarding the meters every six months.
The decision also reemphasized the municipalities' rights with regard to contract renewals, noting that any extension is supposed to be done with the "written approval of both parties," but that at least some of them had been automatically renewed despite opposition from some municipalities.
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