The city of Detroit is desperate for two things – revenue and savings. It needs to start making more money, and it needs to curb spending. What happens, though, when those two objectives run counter to each other? Well, you get a story like this one, where cost-saving measures are actually costing the city far more in lost revenue.

The city of Detroit has over 3,400 parking meters. If they were all functional, it's estimated they could bring in an additional $6 million per year in revenue. That's money the city could desperately use. Instead, only about half are working, a spokesman for Emergency Manager Kevyn Orr told The Detroit News. The reasons for this are alarmingly easy to fix.

First, as part of the city's austerity measures, it switched to a cheaper, lower-quality battery. According to The News, BatteryJunction.com claims the current batteries being used by the city are nearly three dollars cheaper than the Duracell CopperTop nine-volts the city used before it went bust.

According to an anonymous meter attendant, the Duracells were swapped out every summer and winter. These new batteries, though, are dead well before attendants can get there with replacements. So yes, money is being saved somewhere, but revenue isn't being realized elsewhere.

Even simply changing the batteries requires a fight. The cylinder locks that house the batteries and other internals are prone to seizing when they meet water or dirt. Because maintenance budgets have been trimmed, the locks aren't replaced as often as they should be, which in turn damages the cylinder keys. This in turn exacerbates the battery issue, costing the city more money, due to its attempts at saving funds from maintenance. It really is a vicious cycle.

Of course the solution is rather simple – spend money to make money. For Detroiters, though, how do you do that when there's simply no money left to spend?


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  • 53 Comments
      jasonbooboo
      • 1 Year Ago
      White flight sucks, huh? If you want to fix the problem, start a campaign to promote fine cheeses, overpriced coffee, hold some yoga classes in the park, open a couple Apple stores, import some asian girls, and try not to rob them for at least a year (instead dress like Carlton, pronounce all syllables in a word, and basically prim yourself to be the black friends white people always want to say they have). Voila, problem solved.
        Ben Dover
        • 1 Year Ago
        @jasonbooboo
        LMAO! Sad but true... ripped off from that "stuff white people like" website tho! ;)
        car-a-holic
        • 1 Year Ago
        @jasonbooboo
        You said white flight....... Hahaha
      carnut0913
      • 1 Year Ago
      Well, if you prioritize your sending based on ROI, this would obviously be a top priority additionally, it costs more than $3 to change the battery out an additional time,. And since when did a Duracell 9v cost more than $3??
        CarNutMike
        • 1 Year Ago
        @carnut0913
        I Duracell coppertop lithium 9V is $4.69 bought in huge quanties. A basic Duracell 9V alkaline is $1.16. Both prices from BatteryJunction, referenced in the article.
      El Jefe
      • 1 Year Ago
      I thought this was going to be the start of a new line of jokes: Detroit is so broke....
      ctizzle
      • 1 Year Ago
      I can't stand you Brandon Turkus! Can you guys PUHLEEEEEZE start perusing local Chicago, Cleveland, Miami, Pittsburgh, Philly, New Orleans, L.A. newspapers for lil bullshyt stories like this and leave Detroit out of it. Alls you're doing (probably on purpose) is perpetuating a stigma that is changing (been downtown lately?!)! Why is there nothing on the Rail-line (just as "transportation related as a damn parking meter), or the HockeyTown thing?! Real convenient to run this story...do some damn work, and stop with the 'low hanging fruit' of Detroit stories. Stay in that renaissance city of Orion Twp, and report on alls the goings on there!
      Avinash Machado
      • 1 Year Ago
      What a joke.Sad to see a once glorious city in such a shape.
      richsra
      • 1 Year Ago
      How about auctioning to the private sector the right to collect parking fees from meters for about 75% of what they would be getting in case all was working fine. Leave the other 25% as potential profit for the private entity who would be running the meters. Split any parking fine 50/50.
        GSXR
        • 1 Year Ago
        @richsra
        That's exactly what most cities in Europe do.
        denniskfc
        • 1 Year Ago
        @richsra
        that's how the red light camera works. soon, you will see meters that expire much quicker then the 15 minutes you pay for. and if i am the operator, i would also put in an alarm that would send out a signal to nearby cops 5 minutes before it expire
      Lab Rat
      • 1 Year Ago
      Detroit is dying. That's all there is to it.
        Mike M
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Lab Rat
        Nope, already dead. All we are seeing is the death rattles.
          ctizzle
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Mike M
          guarantee you've never been here, and KNOW NOBODY here! How can you make a statement when alls you know is what a blogger writes to get clicks. I love how all of you folks comment on shyt you have no idea about....hey...just like you do about cars!!!
      b.rn
      • 1 Year Ago
      I appreciate that people are quick to attack an inefficient government and you'd be correct, but not necessarily for the reasons you might think. Far too often people try to do the right thing, but the laws won't let them. This may be a case of the person in charge of buying the batteries can't get the funding approved, because of some law designed to prevent corruption. Often these laws are so mistrusting of the civil servants, that they can't get anything done. That makes government less efficient, which makes people upset, which causes investigations of misappropriations, which creates laws, which starts the whole process over. It's an endless loop. What do do something about it? Start trusting government employees to do the right thing. Check up on them to make sure they're living up to your trust, but it needs to start somewhere.
      GFB
      • 1 Year Ago
      The myth is that Detroit politicians singlehandedly destroyed Detroit. Nothing could be further from the truth. The Federally funded interstate highway system created the suburbs to which the manufacturing (automobile) industries - and much of the population - fled before they shipped those jobs overseas. When taxpayers flee, a city or a country will find itself stuck with the bill - now we have the inversion phenomena, U.S. corporations moving their headquarters overseas. The U.S. economy is predicated on growth. No one, Republican or Democrat, white or black, knows how to manage an economy that is actually shrinking. More than anything else, including inflation, economists and politicians dread deflation. Detroit, a single-industry city whose population decreased from 2 million to less than 700,000, is the classic, text-book case study for what can go wrong in a deflationary economy. Those who don't, can't or won't leave are left holding the bag.
        Alfonso T. Alvarez
        • 1 Year Ago
        @GFB

        You need to study some history before making any more ignorant comments.

        Briefly, the auto industry built multi-story factories in Detroit - tens of thousands of people moved to Detroit to work in the factories.  Neighborhoods were built around the factories, including stores, services - barbers, electricians, etc. and the areas were thriving.

        As production increased, the automakers found (and not just GM, Ford and Chrysler - there were plenty of others back then) that the multi-story factory layouts were not capable of being modified or retooled to increase production sufficiently.

        So, they moved out of Detroit to surrounding areas, others parts of Michigan, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, etc.

        The workers followed so they could keep the relatively high paying jobs for the times.

        The neighborhoods around the old factories gradually collapsed, one after another, people moved out, those that stayed couldn't find work as the stores and service businesses closed, homes were rented as they couldn't be sold, the housing stock deteriorated, people couldn't find any work, and if they couldn't afford a car, couldn't get to even the relatively close factories - they ended up on public assistance.  This continued and got worse over time, those that could afford to leave had left, those who had businesses closed them and either retired or rebuilt their business in other areas, repeat, repeat, repeat over several generations. 

        Tax revenues collapsed, expenses were not reigned in sufficiently, and in some instances couldn't be realistically reduced - there were parts of the city that were very scarcely populated, yet they still needed police and fire protection, street lights, street and other infrastructure maintenance, etc.

        Sure, there have been some really crappy politicians that have done major damage to what was left, but the real damage was done long before they took office.

      GSXR
      • 1 Year Ago
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ny4a-oxOndo
      Lachmund
      • 1 Year Ago
      I find it embarrassing something like this can happen in a country like the United States.
      Zoom
      • 1 Year Ago
      Par for the course for the GOPs policy of cut cut cut, to the point where you cut so much the system fails. Then they say, 'see, told ya the system is broken'. Cynical, bunch, them.
        stecki3d
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Zoom
        isn't Detroit a Democrat run town? not trying to defend the GOP, just i don't remember it being run by the GOP
          Zoom
          • 1 Year Ago
          @stecki3d
          The GOP governor appointed a businessman to run the city. Not saying the previous mayor was a gem, but still. Most big cities are run by Democrats and are run well.
          T. C.
          • 1 Year Ago
          @stecki3d
          GOP legislature forced through an Emergency Manager law that lets the Governor (Republikan) declare any town or city to be "under emergency," appoint a non-elected Emergency Manager who is accountable to no one but the governor, with the power to cancel any and all city contracts, render local elected officials powerless, ignore the wishes of the voters, and sell off city assets at pennies on the dollar to political allies.
        Ryth
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Zoom
        Democrats destroyed Detroit. Get your facts straight.
          iTsLiKeAnEgG
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Ryth
          To be fair to you both, Republicans and Democrats are both doing a fine job of screwing us all.
        ilkhan
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Zoom
        When was the last time Detroit elected a GOP member for anything? Right. I probably wasn't born then. Dems have destroyed that city, and many others.
        MONTEGOD7SS
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Zoom
        Better to spend spend spend and end up in bankruptcy? You sound like a typical party line voter that has ran this country into the ground. News flash, both sides are full of corruption and will continue to get 99% of the votes from the misinformed.
          MONTEGOD7SS
          • 1 Year Ago
          @MONTEGOD7SS
          I'm not the party line voter, and you try to tell me I don't get it? Please. Both sides thinking they are right, and the other is wrong. That will sure bring about some positive change I'm sure. Working good so far, right?
          Zoom
          • 1 Year Ago
          @MONTEGOD7SS
          You really don't get it.
        Justin
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Zoom
        And then those first in line to pick at the carcass? Wall Street. To hell with the pensioners, who agreed to lower salaries in exchange for the promise of having a guaranteed retirement. Detroit is just the test case for the oligarchs - if successful, expect to see the strategy implemented nationwide.
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