Butler University Police Department made about 90 percent of its more than $400,000 total income last year from parking revenues.
Registration fees made up $241,555, $104,290 came from tickets and $23,635.92 came from parking meters, according to a 2010-11 budget.
Police Chief Ben Hunter said BUPD couldn’t sustain itself on parking revenues alone, but it is a crucial part of the division’s total income.
“If anyone thinks we’re making money off parking, they’re sorely mistaken,” Hunter said. “We’re not in business to make money.”
BUPD’s total expenses last year were more than $1.4 million, but Vice President for Finance Bruce Arick said the university does not pressure BUPD to ticket heavily or sell a certain number of permits in order to increase revenue to balance the budget.
BUPD sells permits and writes tickets in order to control the number of cars on campus at any given time, Arick said.
“It’s pretty futile to have a parking system if you’re not going to enforce it,” Arick said. “If you’re not going to enforce it, you might as well throw it out the window.”
In “Students, faculty, staff left with permit, no parking” (Aug. 31), The Collegian reported that Butler issued 3,997 parking permits to faculty, staff and students this year, but there only are 2,585 spots designated for them on campus, leaving 1,412 permit holders spotless.
Arick said instead of actively looking for potential permit buyers, the growth in sales has been because of higher enrollment.
“I don’t know what the magic number [of permits] is,” Arick said. “Are there times when there’s not enough spaces? I’m sure there are, but that’s fairly rare. I think the challenge is more about location.”
Junior Lacey Kriston said it can be frustrating that there isn’t an option to move her car closer to the academic buildings to avoid walking during inclement weather.
“For what we pay, we don’t get much,” she said.
Junior Rafael Porto said he considers parking registration fees at Butler to be reasonable compared to other schools like Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis, where students pay $228 annually.
“I think the prices at Butler are OK compared to IUPUI, who commutes to campus each day,” Porto said. “But IUPUI has a garage.”
Butler drivers this year paid $60 annually to park, significantly lower than most students who attend Indiana universities or colleges.
Full-time students at Marian University pay $150 per academic year to park on campus and pay $50 per parking ticket they accumulate. Like at Butler, students can appeal tickets, but they have to do so within seven days of receiving one, three days shorter than Butler student’s policy.
At Ball State University, students are put on a waiting list that serves names higher up with better spot locations, and they pay anywhere from $70 to $315 annually.
At Indiana University-Bloomington, students pay $132 to park per semester.
Arick mostly attributes Butler’s lower prices to the fact that Butler doesn’t have a parking garage, which is more expensive than surface parking.
A principal at Walker Parking Consultants Engineers in Indianapolis said structured parking traditionally costs anywhere from $11,000 to $13,000 a space, whereas surface parking costs anywhere from $2,500 to $3,000 per space.
“To be able to support that kind of infrastructure, you’ve got to be able to cover those costs from fees or other revenue streams,” Arick said.
Hunter said Butler’s permit costs could go up in the future but that the parking committee made a recommendation to keep permit costs static for two years.
“It’s challenging because permits don’t pay for all the services that go into parking services,” Hunter said. “It’s a budget issue. But we’ve looked for avenues to reduce those costs.”