Downtown parking garage company failing to meet contract, audit says

Audit requirements in parking contract not met

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — An Action News Jax investigation uncovered a new audit found the company in charge of some downtown Jacksonville parking garages is failing to meet its agreement.

Metropolitan Parking Solutions runs the parking garages at the VyStar Veterans Memorial Arena, the sports complex near the Baseball Grounds of Jacksonville and across the street from the Duval County Courthouse.

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The Redevelopment Agreement between the city, the Jacksonville Economic Development Commission and MPS was approved by City Council in February 2004.

The agreement is now administered by the Downtown Investment Authority, which uses your tax dollars as business incentives.

According to the audit, the three garages were financed by $50 million in conduit debt issued by the JEDC, in which MPS would make bond payments.

Under the agreement, MPS was required to make a $3,000,000 equity investment in the project with a guaranteed return of 8% on the funds. It was reduced to 6.75% in 2011.

In order to receive the loans, MPS is required to submit to the DIA a semi-annual tranche request, cash flow reports on a monthly basis, and annual audit reports.

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The audit scope was all tranche requests and cash flow reports for calendar year 2016 and 2017.

The Council Auditor’s Office found MPS didn’t submit tranche requests and financial reports on time.

For example, the second tranche request for 2017 was 171 days late.

According to the audit, 23.6% of the cash flow reports between 2016 and 2017 were mathematically wrong.

The CAO said that showed the DIA was not reviewing the statements in detail.

The report said MPS failed to pay property taxes on time for the three garages since purchasing the parcels, resulting in late fees and interest totaling $480,998.

The Council Auditor said the expenses are avoidable and required the city to loan even more money to MPS.

In response to the audit, MPS said it’s “committed to compliance, and will submit all information and present as required and instructed. Further, we continue to enhance our accounting and finance resource pool to aid in this process.”

DIA said it will implement standard operating procedures to better administer the MPS agreement that include ensuring cash flow reports and all required documents be produced on time and thoroughly reviewed.