In the morning as classes start, the campus floods with students – and their cars. Parking on campus is a real problem. And a lot of students find themselves with parking tickets from the University Police Department after parking in the wrong lot or trying to find a space in a desperate measure to get to class on time.
But after you pay your parking ticket, what happens next? Where does the money go?
According to Al Hooten, Vice President for Finance and Operations at Sam Houston State University, the money goes right back into the program that issues the tickets. Revenue from parking fees and fines is used to support the University’s Office of Public Safety – funding the salaries of SHSU police officers, civilian employees and student workers. Funds received beyond budget go to a reserve which is used to construct and maintain parking lots.
Hooten said the total budgeted revenue for 2012 is $1,714,000. A large part of that amount is payment of debt for the parking garage at more than $300,000.
Assistant Director for Parking and Transportation David Kapalko said that the money from parking tickets also goes to permit orders, parking garage hardware, software for writing tickets electronically, and a portion of the police budget.
Kapalko said that the parking garage is a major expenditure of the university.
“When it is built, the university obtains state-issued revenue bonds, which are essentially like a 20-year mortgage,” Kapalko said. “To break even on a new parking garage, we would have to have a minimum of $150 per month, per space. Most people are not willing to pay that kind of money for parking.”
Kapalko noted that was discussed at the recent Open University Forum on campus, at which students could come to the public meeting and ask questions to administrators, the reason they can’t build more parking garages to start to alleviate parking situations is because of that very reason.
“The garage is not self-supporting,” Kapalko said. “We can provide the best parking environment that people are willing to pay for.”