City can't figure out how many parking lots it has

parkinglot.jpgYou wonder why L.A. is always scrounging for money? An audit from City Controller (and mayoral candidate) Wendy Greuel has identified 1,900 lots, but there's no way of knowing whether it's the complete list. Which means there's no way of knowing whether L.A. is receiving all the revenues it's owed from the Parking Occupancy Tax. All parking lot operators are required to collect a 10 percent POT from their customers. From the report:

Parking lots may physically encompass multiple street addresses, and have multiple entry/exit ways on different streets. The Parking Operator determines which address will be used for the Police Permit and Parking Certificate, and could conceivably register the same parking lot with different addresses each year. LATAX does not contain sufficient identifying information to facilitate discovery efforts, since there may be only a single address recorded on LATAX. This makes it difficult to confirm whether a particular lot is registered and in compliance. In order to determine which address applies for corner lots, or lots that may span several individual street addresses, additional field investigative work must be performed by TPN or Finance staff.

The city actually contracts with an outside vendor to identify unregistered parking lots (the firm is paid based on the number of properties it comes up with). No estimate on how much the city might be losing; total POT revenue runs about $85 million and despite any lapses you'd have to assume that most L.A. lots are accounted for. So it's probably a few million bucks - not a ton of money but still... You might recall a similar knowledge gap some years back on the number of billboards in the city.

More by Mark Lacter:
American-US Air settlement with DOJ includes small tweak at LAX
Socal housing market going nowhere fast
Amazon keeps pushing for faster L.A. delivery
Another rugged quarter for Tribune Co. papers
How does Stanford compete with the big boys?
Those awful infographics that promise to explain and only distort
Best to low-ball today's employment report
Further fallout from airport shootings
Crazy opening for Twitter*
Should Twitter be valued at $18 billion?
Recent City Hall stories:
Garcettis are moving to Getty House in January
Council members at large (photo)
Greuel and others pitch Clinton for president (video)
Exit interview with Port of L.A.'s executive director
Garcetti on changing city hall culture

New at LA Observed
On the Media Page
Go to Media

On the Politics Page
Go to Politics
Arts and culture

Sign up for daily email from LA Observed

Enter your email address:

Delivered by FeedBurner

Mark Lacter
Mark Lacter created the LA Biz Observed blog in 2006. He posted until the day before his death on Nov. 13, 2013.
Mark Lacter, business writer and editor was 59
The multi-talented Mark Lacter
LA Observed on Twitter and Facebook