(File photo)

UPDATE: Surrey council votes to bring parking enforcement in-house

Staff recommend hiring staff to conduct the work as a cost-saving measure

Surrey council voted Monday to bring parking enforcement in-house, ending its existing contract due to “price escalations.”

“I believe it’s time that the City of Surrey resumes full control and responsibility for the city’s parking enforcement services,” said Mayor Doug McCallum in a press release Tuesday morning. “Not only will this move bring a cost savings to our ratepayers, but it will also provide for additional employment opportunities within the city. I fully endorse this move and I am glad that Council has voted in support of it.”

The City of Surrey entered into a five-year contract with Paladin Security Group (formerly known as Concorde Security) in 2013 for parking enforcement services.

The annual cost for parking enforcement was $860,000 plus GST in the last contract year but that is expected to rise to $915,150 for the 2019-20 year, “representing a 6.4 per cent increase,” staff note.

Bringing the work in-house would cost an estimated $660,000 to $805,000 “which is lower than the cost that the city is presently paying for these services.”

According to a report to council, it will require up to 11 staff, including seven to nine enforcement officers, one of whom would be a supervisor, as well as two clerks.

READ ALSO: Surrey council approves free two-hour parking at city hall, around hospital

In addition to cost savings, staff say the “quality of work is more easily controlled through internal resources” and the city can “more easily pivot its approach to service delivery based on priorities.”

And, parking enforcement staff “could be deployed to deal with other bylaw enforcement related matters.”

The city will now pay out the remainder of its parking enforcement contract with Paladin Security Group for work completed between April 1, 2018 to Sept. 30, 2019, totalling roughly $1.32 million.

The staff report notes the current Paladin parking enforcement officers primarily respond to parking complaints from the public, enforce the Highway and Traffic Bylaw and “proactively patrol” for any violations of the city regulations.

Those officers are also currently responsible for resolving customer complaints, gathering evidence and giving court testimony when applicable as well as maintenance of parking pay stations. They are active from 6:30 a.m. to 11 p.m., seven days a week and “are supported by a call centre.”

The report notes that in the last contract year, the city received 16,151 parking enforcement requests, and states they are responded to on a priority basis.

That year, 60,501 parking violation notices were issued, it adds.

Also in the last contract year, 2,514 parking tickets were disputed, which equates to roughly four per cent, the report notes. Forty eight of those were deemed invalid.

Meantime, staff are also recommending council review its contract for security guard services at City Hall, City Centre Library and the Operations Centre.

A contract for those services expired on Oct. 31, 2018 and since then, that work has continued on a “month-to-month” basis, staff note.

The cost for security guard services from November 1, 2018 to July 31, 2019 are projected to be $662,321 and staff recommend council terminate the month-to-month arrangement effective July 31.

In April the city initiated a market competition for a new security contractor. On July 8, staff expect to bring forward options for that contract.



amy.reid@surreynowleader.com

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