KNOXVILLE, TN - According to a recent Knox County parking study, 814 public employees and individuals who have business relationships with city or county government do not pay to park their private vehicles in downtown garages, reported the Knoxville News Sentinel.

Meanwhile, the Sentinel reported 1,760 people - also primarily public employees - generally pay $15 to $30 a month for the same privilege. Other downtown garages charge up to $115 a month for parking, the report states. An additional 1,559 government vehicles are allowed to park in the two downtown garages.

Since the findings of the study were released, the Sentinel said the county commission has been asked to establish a consistent parking policy for all departments.

One county commissioner, Larry Smith, who said he and Commissioner Mike Hammond pay for parking, criticized some employees who get free parking.

"It looks like the garage is serving the government, and citizens [going to the courthouse] are having to walk a long way to park and have to pay a lot more than county employees have to pay," County Commissioner Larry Smith told the Sentinel.

Employees pay for parking through payroll deductions or to their department. It's unclear how many county commissioners get free parking, but those that do get the perk only during commission meetings, according to Jane Burritt, director of property management for the Public Building Authority, reported the Sentinel.