Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Jerry Orr: I'm not to blame for parking increases

Former Aviation Director Jerry Orr says someone got it wrong by blaming him for recent parking rate increases at Charlotte Douglas International Airport.

In a letter to the editor to be published in Wednesday's Observer, Orr disputed a City Manager's report last week that said the 40 to 50 percent increase in parking rates is a result of inadequate planning by Orr for new parking deck construction costs. City manager Ron Carlee prepared the report, which said that Orr misrepresented the costs of tearing down the old hourly decks at the airport, according to the Observer's Ely Portillo.
Said Carlee's report: "When the replacement and expansion of parking was approved, the Aviation Department represented to the Council, the airlines serving Charlotte, the Rating Agencies, and bond investors that the capital program would be revenue neutral. That has not been the case, however..."

Last week, Orr told Portillo: "It does not seem accurate to me."

Now, he has a fuller response. Here's his letter:


Editors, The Observer:
Your article in The Observer dated March 6 captioned "Orr Blamed for Airport Parking Increases"  may or may not have accurately quoted City Manager Ron Carlee in reporting that I failed to consider or disclose to City Council the financial consequences of the Airport’s new parking deck project. But someone got their facts wrong. The plan of finance for the new deck included the commitment that the Aviation Director would increase parking rates when and as necessary to insure that Airport Revenues would be sufficient to pay the debt service on the new deck.
The parking deck was financed with the proceeds of the Series 2011 General Airport Revenue Bonds issued by the North Carolina Local Government Commission in November 2011. In connection with the issuance of the Bonds the City caused the financial feasibility of the project to be studied and reported on by an independent consultant in a report titled "REPORT OF THE AIRPORT CONSULTANT." This report was included as a part of the Official Statement published by the City as a prerequisite to the issuance of the Bonds.
Table V-6 on page B-119 is the Consultant’s forecast of Airport  Revenue. It has a separate line item captioned "Incremental Auto Parking – 2001 Dbt Svc Recovery" which identifies additional parking revenues ranging from $3,545,166 in FY 2012 to $5,504,053 in FY 2017.
Page B-120 of the Official Statement contains the following language:

“According to Airport  Management, the City will increase certain parking rates at the Airport which will result in additional parking revenues in amounts which, at a minimum, would recover the debt service on the 2011 Bonds allocable to the construction of the Public parking portion of the new short term public parking garage. …These additional parking revenues are projected to generate $3,545,166 in FY 2012 and $5,504,053 in FY 2017."


This information was shared with the City’s Manager and Chief Financial Officer as well as the City’s Investment Banker, Financial Advisor, Bond counsel and the North Carolina Local Government Commission. Apparently Mr. Carlee or The Observer have received misinformation. Any idea that I would propose a capital program that would jeopardize the Airport’s financial well-being is a complete mischaracterization of my management record as Aviation Director of Charlotte Douglas since 1989.
Respectfully submitted,
                                                            
 T. J. Orr

16 comments:

Wiley Coyote said...

This is the same Carlee who supports the streetcar to nowhere just because it won't require a tax increase.

Welcome to Detroit.

Cornelia said...

An investigative piece into the increased expenditures at the airport since the stow-away incident, including security as well as for new construction, would be helpful. Included would be an analysis of the documents Orr referenced plus the figures Carlee used to back up his claim. I assume all are public information. How about it, CO? This "he said, he said" gets us nowhere except confused.

hightide said...

Neither Brent Cagle or Ron Carlee have the expertise or knowledge to run an operation as big as CLT

Cornelia said...

Wiley, this is the same Carlee whose strong recommendation by Foxx likely was contingent upon his finding money in the budget for the Streetcar to Nowhere without it "appearing" to be included in a tax increase. I will never believe for a minute that some of the operating expenses for said streetcar don't figure into the airport's increase in parking fees. There are many ways to skin a pole cat, when a sly and crafty creature is doing the skinning.

Cornelia said...

What I find truly amazing is that Carlee, aka Foxxy, had such hubris that he did not even find it advisable to wait until the FAA ruled against the regional commission before implementing his parking fee hikes. I thought all the hoopla might at least have put the city on guard and slowed controversial changes down.

James Edgar said...

I do not, and probably never will, understand our local government's creepy obsession and lust for a streetcar. It has made them blind to just about everything.

Jerry Orr might have the personality of a cactus and the sensitivity of a Sherman tank, but you have to admit he's right on this one. Who in the world would be stupid enough to propose spending money on a project without a detailed, realistic plan on where the money to pay for it would come from?

Oh, yeah, that's right. Politicians and government bureaucrats do it every day. Never mind......

Cornelia said...

I don't think the fixation on the streetcar has a thing to do with desiring a streetcar, per se. I think it has everything to do with a slick sales job to a certain community and a foolish promise to said community--a community upon whom the majority of local officials depend on to stay in office. Even if the economic effects of said streetcar were to eventually come to pass, nobody has addressed the displacement of current residents when they are priced out of that market.

Garth Vader said...

The streetcar project has already put several businesses on Elizabeth Ave. out of business due to the loss in foot traffic during construction.

Wiley Coyote said...

Mary Newsome wrote this 4 years ago when the 1.5 mile stretch of streetcar was voted on:

I have to say, it always amazes me how city managers can find little pockets of millions of dollars just when their council member bosses need them. $4 million for "Smart Growth"? Who knew?

Even then council said they didn't know where the $1.5 MILLION dollars per year was going to come from to run just 1.5 miles.

The continued arrogance of city managers and politicians towards taxpayers is astounding.

The suggestion that we have to have a streetcar along a certain corridor to stimulate business and growth is just plain stupid.

How in the world did other areas of Charlotte manage to grow and prosper WITHOUT a streetcar?

This boils down to "hey, so and so city has one, we need one too!" mentality.

Uhh, no we don't.

burtshabby said...

Orr has been building this airport since the 70s and USAir has rewarded his low cost high efficiency airport by consolidating more and more flights out of Charlotte.

Carlee has supported a tax hike to fund a budget that included the streetcar while telling us it would be paid for with existing funds. Now, he raises airport parking rates 50%.

We may not be able to fire him but we can certainly fire our local politicians who have him pushing this tax and spend agenda.

Branden Bowen said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Todd Galordi said...

It's a publicity thing for the politicians...looks good and stands out.

Ben Reeder Photography said...

What I find truly amazing is that Carlee, aka Foxxy, had such hubris that he did not even find it advisable to wait until the FAA ruled against the regional commission before implementing his parking fee hikes. I thought all the hoopla might at least have put the city on guard and slowed controversial changes down.

Jenna Catlin said...

Rightly said that 40 to 50 percent increase in parking rates is a result of inadequate planning, Meet and greet car parking Birmingham, provide healthier ways to park int he right way.



Jenna Catlin said...


as mentioned above that Former Aviation Director Jerry Orr says someone got it wrong by blaming him for recent parking rate increases at Charlotte Douglas International Airport. i must say if there comes an increase in the rate then the right person should be blamed so that the rights could be reserved. Airport Car parking at Manchester


carla grace said...

Blaming it on someone or not, unreasonable increases in the fair are not just. They should be inclined to give convenience to airport parkers not headaches... gatwick meet and greet