How Barrington will get more revenue by cutting quarterly train station parking fee
A reduction in the quarterly parking fee at downtown Barrington's train station means more revenue will be generated for the village because the amount will fall below a threshold requiring a Cook County tax payment, officials said.
Commuters will pay $5 less -- $195 instead of $200 -- for the quarterly hangtag starting Jan. 1, said Jason Hayden, Barrington's director of financial services. While the $200 quarterly permit wound up producing $182 in revenue, the village will keep all $195 by not triggering the 9% tax.
Cook County's 9% parking lot and garage operations tax is applied on spaces that cost $15 or more per week in towns with 250,000 or fewer residents. Barrington tripped the tax because the quarterly parking rate, which started Oct. 1, worked out to $15.38 for each of 13 weeks covered by the $200 permit.
Barrington officials heard from Cook County representatives when they became aware of the village's plan for new parking rates. Commuters from Barrington and several surrounding suburbs use the downtown Metra depot lot.
"We did not know about the Cook County taxes because they weren't applicable to us before," Hayden said.
Barrington also raised the daily parking tab to $3.50 from $3 for the north and south lots in October, but avoided the tax on the higher rate after village officials sought assistance to change the threshold. Cook County had a 6% tax on municipal parking spaces costing more than $3 for a 24-hour period in communities with fewer than 250,000 residents.
Cook County Board commissioners Kevin Morrison of Elk Grove Village and Larry Suffredin of Evanston pushed through an ordinance amendment for the 6% tax to apply on a $4 daily parking rate minimum instead of $3. Morrison said he wanted "to give some leniency to our municipalities" before the county board approved the change Oct. 24.
"We were very pleased that they were willing to adjust it on the daily end to recognize that commuter parking is important," Barrington Village President Karen Darch said. "They want to encourage that because you want people taking mass transit."
Darch said it's hoped Cook County also will boost the parking tax threshold affecting the quarterly permits. Hayden said the taxes on the quarterly lot hangtags for October through December already have been paid to Cook County.
Train station lot revenue goes into Barrington's parking system fund. Examples of how the fund is used include continuing parking lot maintenance and a planned second commuter entrance off Northwest Highway near Barrington Animal Hospital.