Graphic from April 15 audit report

City Auditor’s Office makes recommendation to align on-street parking enforcement with City goals.

The Kansas City, Mo., City Auditor’s Office released an audit focused on determining what actions could improve on-street parking enforcement downtown on April 15.

 In April 2018, the City and the Board of Police Commissioners entered into a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the intent to increase the level of parking control activities and collaborate on parking enforcement activities in the downtown area.

The MOU committed the Kansas City, Mo., Police Department (KCPD) to hiring and maintaining a minimum of 10 full-time parking control officers (PCO) primarily dedicated to parking control activities in the downtown area. The city committed to funding the total cost of these 10 additional positions from the Parking Garage Fund.

“The audit found KCPD is not meeting staffing requirements outlined in the 2018 MOU and by January 2021, only two Parking Control Officers were assigned to the downtown area,” according to an April 15 release from the auditor’s office. “Without the minimum 10 PCOs dedicated to downtown parking control activities, the city is not receiving the services it funded.”

Auditors concluded KCPD’s parking control activities and strategies do not support the city’s parking and transportation strategies and KCPD does not routinely meet with City departments to coordinate downtown parking enforcement.

Graphic from April 15 audit report

The City used parking studies to develop policies that focus on shifting long-term parkers to off-street locations. One of the City’s parking management goals is to improve garage utilization with increased parking enforcement and improved communication with the public. KCPD’s Parking Control Unit does not focus on the turnover of on-street parking in the downtown area, the audit report noted, citing KCPD’s Parking Control Unit Policies and Guidelines for 2019.

“Without control over downtown parking enforcement, the city cannot achieve its parking and transportation goals,” the release read. “The City has invested millions of dollars in downtown parking structures that require coordination with on-street parking enforcement to maximize their value.”

KCPD’s Parking Control District maps show an increase in the number of PCOs starting in 2018 but staffing has steadily declined and by January 2021 show only two PCOs assigned to the downtown area, according to the audit report.

According to a KCPD Parking Control Supervisor cited in the audit, PCOs do not follow defined enforcement routes. 

“For parking enforcement to be effective, the enforcement must be provided in a consistent and regular manner,” the audit report reads. “Enforcement routes must be done regularly enough to set the expectation that those who stay over time in a time limited space will get a citation.”

Without enough staff or a strategy focused on turning over short-term parking, many vehicles continue to park illegally with no consequence, evidenced by a previous parking study in June 2020.

Police Department budgets from 2019-2022 show almost $1.7 million appropriated for downtown PCOs. Without the minimum 10 PCOs dedicated to downtown parking control activities, the department did not expend these funds in accordance with the MOU and the city is not receiving the services it funded.

Graphic from April 15 audit report

To align downtown parking enforcement with city goals, the City Auditor’s Office recommended City Manager Brian Platt explore returning parking enforcement to a City department, outsource enforcement, or identify other enforcement options. According to the auditor’s office, the city manager agreed with the recommendation.

Changes in the adjudication process for parking violations may warrant changes in the responsibilities for parking enforcement in downtown Kansas City. In August 2020, the City Council passed Ordinance 200677, which established an administrative adjudication system for parking tickets and other non-moving violations. 

The full report and highlights can be viewed online on the City Auditor’s Office Recent Reports page. The audit was scheduled to be presented at the Council Business Session at 2 p.m. on Thursday, April 15, 2021.

Residents of Kansas City, Mo., can submit audit ideas to the City Auditor at