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posted: 11/9/2013 11:42 AM

Buffalo Grove raises Metra lot parking cost

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The Buffalo Grove village board last week approved an increase in the cost of a bimonthly commuter parking pass for the Metra parking lot at the station on the North Central line.

The increase of $10, a 20 percent increase, will bring the fee to $60. It goes into effect in January.

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Eventually, the village intends to replace the manual fare boxes with automated ones.

Currently commuters have two methods of paying -- a per day fee of $1.75 or a bimonthly pass for $50.

The pass gets around some of the logistical issues involved with paying at the fare boxes, which, by the village's admission, are antiquated. According to Finance Director Scott Anderson, it is difficult for enforcement officers to determine exactly how much money is put into each slot. In addition, no receipt is issued, there is no audit listing printed of parked spaces and fees paid, and cash controls are compromised by lack of locked cash receptacles within the fare box.

In 2004, to encourage participation in the pass program, the pass was discounted from $60 to $50, producing an effective daily rate of $1.17. However, the village's parking lot fund has not covered the cost of operations since the change was made.

The fund has an audited reserve balance of more than $144,000, which Anderson said will be used in part to fund the automated parking meters. The balance in 2004 exceeded $300,000.

Revenue collected at the station, which amounts to nearly $150,000, offsets the cost of maintaining the depot and the parking lot, as well as the payment of the land lease to ComEd. About two-thirds of the revenue comes from the bimonthly pass.

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