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After spending several weeks at UIHC and paying outlandish parking prices, I am wondering who owns and receives the revenue from the parking lots? I was told by several medical staff members that it is the University of Iowa Athletic Department and UIHC that receives the parking revenues. Is this true? –- Mitch, Iowa City, via email
“That’s not accurate, but it’s a common myth that’s out there,” said Jim Sayre, director of the University of Iowa Department of Parking and Transportation. “I’m not sure how it started or where it’s coming from.”
The department is responsible for all of UI’s 16,434 parking spaces, including those at the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics, and all the fees and fines go to it. The Iowa Board of Regents requires the parking departments of each of its three universities — UI, Iowa State University and the University of Northern Iowa — to be self-supporting, using the fees and fines it collects to pay for operations, maintenance and capital improvements with no additional money from the universities or other state funds.
But rumors about shady deals involving parking revenues persist. Sayre said he recently received a phone call from a concerned citizen who heard parking fees were secretly being funneled to the UI Athletics Department to pay for coaches’ salaries.
“We don’t share that revenue with Athletics,” Sayre said. “None of that money is going to coaches’ salaries.”
Parking and Transportation did earmark some funds in its fiscal year 2019 budget for another UI institution — a $5 million contribution to pay for construction of the parking area of the new UI Museum of Art. The contribution has been placed on hold, since museum construction was halted due to state budget cuts.
The department had $5 million to spend, because it’s very profitable. According to the latest Regents budget report on parking, the department had $9,967,819 in income from operations in FY 2017. The same report projected income from operations of more than $7 million for FY 2018 and more than $8 million for FY 2019.
This article was originally published in Little Village issue 248.
Update: This story has been updated since its publication, in order to clarify the nature of the contribution to the UI Museum of Art, and that the figures cited from the Regents report are just income from operations. Anyone interested in more details regarding the budget should click on the link.