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Audit finds nearly 400 of Pittsburgh's old parking meters are missing

| Tuesday, July 2, 2013, 2:54 p.m.

The Pittsburgh Parking Authority can't account for hundreds of decommissioned meters and has failed to maintain “proper control” of inventory it could sell for reuse or as scrap, city Controller Michael Lamb said Tuesday.

Lamb said he's not sure what happened to about 380 old meters, but he has turned his findings, contained in an audit of the authority, over to Allegheny County District Attorney Stephen A. Zappala Jr. for review.

“It's clear there wasn't proper control over that process,” Lamb said.

Parking Authority Executive Director David Onorato said he disagrees. He disputed details contained in the audit, including the number of coin-operated meters the Parking Authority has switched out for computerized ones that accept credit cards and require users to punch in their license plate numbers on a keypad.

“We did not remove 3,800 meters from the street like the audit says, nor did we give (the auditors) a report that says that,” Onorato said. “We removed 3,500 meters, and they're all accounted for in the warehouse.”

Zappala's office said it's too soon to say what could come of the review.

Lamb's auditors also reviewed the authority's performance, contracting and residential parking permit enforcement from 2011 through February. Lamb gave passing marks in most categories, but it fell short in accounting for decommissioned meters and parts, he said.

The authority is storing its old meters in a warehouse at 12th Street and Penn Avenue, Downtown, for possible resale to other municipalities or for scrap.

Auditors said 380 meters were missing. They said the authority failed to document whether the meters or their parts were sold.

Onorato promised that the authority would do a better job of accounting for the sale of scrap parts and meters in the future.

The audit estimated the scrap value of the 380 meters at about $800. It said the meters would be worth about $36,000 if sold for reuse. Onorato said the authority has advertised the meters for sale since January without success.

“With the technology today nobody wants them,” he said.

Bob Bauder is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-765-2312 or bbauder@tribweb.com.

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