Where does the money go?

<em>In this bi-weekly series, </em>Imprint<em> sits down with the heads of different services provided to staff and students across campus to learn where the money is going, how each service helps students, and what is happening behind the scenes.</em>

UW Parking Services is a department that is utilized by thousands of staff and students each term. <em>Imprint </em>spoke with Sharon Rumpel, parking manager, and Ed Danhousen, operations supervisor, to find out how UW Parking Services operates and where the money they earn from the sale of student parking permits actually goes.

&ldquo;I don&rsquo;t receive any funding from the university, so all the money that I receive to run the department is all from permits &hellip; so obviously my goal is to get as many people parking as possible. If I&rsquo;ve got an empty lot, that&rsquo;s not making me money,&rdquo; Rumpel said.

Parking Services has control over all the parking lots situated on UW property including those at UW residences. The 20-plus parking lots are grouped into three main types of lots.

Gated lots are reserved for faculty and staff who can purchase permits in these lots for a price of $152 plus tax, per term. These lots are generally located on the main campus, are permit controlled, and only allow visitor parking after 4 p.m.

&ldquo;If [staff] have purchased a permit in a lot, they&rsquo;re guaranteed a spot in that lot, but as new faculty staff come, they&rsquo;re offered spots in the outer lots (X and UWP) with the opportunity to move in if we release people off the wait list. Some of those wait lists have 200 to 300 people on them and the reality is, most of them never see that lot,&rdquo; Rumpel said.

Residence lots are offered to the students who live in the residences for a price of $150 per term. Taxes are not applied to this type of permit. Some of these lots also offer pay-and-display visitor parking.

There are four student parking lots, of which only N is located on the main campus. Together the four lots offer up 1,800 parking spots. Students can purchase a permit for the term for $150 plus tax. Student permits do not reserve parking spots in any particular lot, only guarantee that a spot will be available in one of the available lots.

Rumpel said, &ldquo;Obviously we oversell &hellip; not all 1,800 students are going to be here at the exact same time every day. Right now we&rsquo;ve issued about 1,925 spaces and we waitlisted anyone else that wants a permit.&rdquo;

According to Rumpel and Danhousen, Parking Services does not have an official cap on the number of student permits they will sell.

&ldquo;What we&rsquo;ll do now [is] Ed and I will go out every day in the morning around 10:30 a.m. and 2:30 p.m., which seems to be prime time for morning and afternoon classes, and check to make sure there&rsquo;s still space available. If we do that for two or three days and see that consistently we have lots of space we&rsquo;ll release [permits] in 25 [person] increments.

&ldquo;The goal is to accommodate as many students as we can with parking but also to ensure that those students who have purchased parking are guaranteed a space &hellip; Sometimes we might be 10 per cent oversold, sometimes we might be 20 per cent oversold, it all depends on class schedules,&rdquo; Rumpel said.

All student parking lots are open to daily visitors who can park using a pay-and-display system.

Rumpel said, &ldquo;We never oversell to the point where we can&rsquo;t accommodate daily visitors.&rdquo;

In addition to these three types, Parking Services controls and maintains lots for attendants and contractors, and evaluates and assigns parking for outside events held at the university.

&ldquo;There&rsquo;s a difference between event parking and visitor parking. Event parking would be something like dance [competitions] for example where they contact us saying &lsquo;We want to have a big event this day, can you accommodate this.&rsquo; If we can &hellip; we will try our best to accommodate them, but not at the expense of displacing our students, staff, or faculty,&rdquo; Rumpel said.

UW Parking Services is operated independently of the university and is meant to be a break-even organization. Money earned from the sale of permits is dedicated to pavement repairs, lighting, emergency lines in lots, staff salaries (Parking Services currently has 14 full-time staff), and rent payments on the office out of which they operate.

&ldquo;The reality is we do realize a profit most years, and that goes into our reserve fund which is used for upgrading equipment, like the new pay-and-displays we got recently, and for the asphalt repairs,&rdquo; Rumpel said.

Danhousen added, &ldquo;This past summer we just paid $800,000 [out of our reserve fund], we redid lots N, S, and K.&rdquo;

Parking Services recently had condition assessments done on all of their parking lots and have begun a 10-year plan, which will involve the repaving and maintenance of every lot on campus.