Friday, November 18, 2016

City Upgrading Parking Pay Stations with Two New Payment Options


Enhanced technology is in the works for the City's nearly 160 solar-powered parking pay stations that will enable motorists to pay using their license plate information. Motorists will also be able to extend the time on the pay station by mobile text message.

The Pay-by-Plate option will take effect on January 2, 2017. Those using pay stations can enter their license plate number directly into the machine when they pay. The system will save the information for parking enforcement officers. This helps streamline the process by eliminating the need to print a ticket and place it on the dashboard. However, receipts can still be printed for those who want them.

In addition, there also will be an Extend-by-Phone option. The driver will receive a text message notification when the parking space time is running out. As long as there is time available within the posted time zone, more time can be added via text message.

Benefits for the City and motorists include:
  • Reduced paper usage, which is environmentally friendly and could cut costs by $25,000 annually 
  • Streamlined parking experience – no trip back to the car to display the printed receipt, or to renew parking (when text renewal option is used)
  • Anticipated overall lower downtime and maintenance costs
  • Anticipated reduction of customer calls by as much as 50 percent
Payment options are still coins, bills or debit/credit cards.

The City will educate the public to help ensure a smooth transition to these new technology options. Educational materials will be available for the public and "Meter Greeters" will be stationed at selected new installation sites. Staff will be trained to maintain and service the stations.

To view a demonstration on how to use the new Pay-by-Plate, click here.

For more information on City services, Pay-by-Plate and Extend-by-Phone, visit
www.RichmondGov.com

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

The City of Richmond Successfully Enters the Bond Market - Saves $100 Million


The City of Richmond successfully sold $502 million in Public Utility Revenue and Refunding Bonds of which $169 million was for new money projects and $333 million was to refund existing debt service for interest rate savings.

The cost of funds for the City’s New Money Projects was approximately 3.47%, which is near the lowest cost of funds in several decades. In addition, the City took advantage of the historic low interest rate environment to refund two outstanding bond issues, which will result in the City reducing its existing debt service by roughly $100 million over the next 24 years.

The Bonds were highly rated by all three national credit rating agencies - Moody’s, Standard & Poor’s and Fitch (Aa2, AA, AA respectively).

Wells Fargo, Bank of America, Raymond James and Siebert Cisneros Shank served as underwriters on the financing. Wells Fargo, Bank of America and Raymond James have offices in Richmond. Siebert Cisneros Shank is based out of New York and is the nation’s largest minority owned bond underwriting firm.

“These extraordinary savings underscore the confidence that investors have in owning a piece of Richmond’s future,” said Mayor Dwight C. Jones.  “Additionally, as a result of the savings, we’ll be able to help offset operating costs and ongoing debt service related to these transactions.”  

David Rose, Senior Vice President and Manager of Public Finance at Davenport & Company LLC, the City’s Financial Advisor, said “As best we can determine, the level of debt service savings is unprecedented for a Virginia Local Government.”

The City’s Director of Public Utilities, Bob Steidel, commented, “The City’s Utility System has experienced consistent credit rating upgrades over the past several years. As a result, the level of savings has been augmented because our credit worthiness has increased.”

“Today’s results serve to confirm that the City’s Utility System is well run and well respected by major investors,” said Chief Administrative Officer Selena Cuffee-Glenn. “We recognize there is no way this result could have occurred unless that was the case.”