Editorial: Council Considering Rate Hikes For Parking, Utilities and More...

By / Editorials / Wednesday, 17 May 2017 04:00

By WILLARD KILLOUGH III
Managing Editor

The Carolina Beach Town Council heard a presentation from Town Manager Michael Cramer Tuesday morning May 16th, outlining a proposal to increase rates on parking meters, parking lots, water rates, sewer rates, fines, stormwater rates and more. (See report this week by clicking here: Carolina Beach Budget Proposal Calls For Multiple Rate Increases)

Cramer is working on a budget for the upcoming 2017-2018 fiscal year which starts July 1st. The Council has to adopt a balanced budget by June 30th.

Residential Parking Permit:
Currently the Town charges $5 for a residential parking permit and brings in about $49,230 per year. You buy the permit and park for free at metered spaces and in Town parking lots. The proposal is to double the cost of that permit to $10 and generate an additional $49,230 dollars for a total annual revenue of $98,460.

Parking Rates:
Currently it cost people who do not purchase a parking permit $1.50 per hour to park at a metered space. The proposal is to increase that hourly rate to $2.00 per hour and increase annual revenue by $72,000 for a total of $297,000 per year. Currently it cost people $1.50 or $8 per day to park in a Town parking lot (Unless you have a parking permit). The cost for limos and buses is $10 per day. The proposal is to raise the hourly rate to $2.00 per hour and raising the daily rate to $10 ($15 for limos and buses). That's estimated to generate an additional $155,200 per year for a total annual revenue source of $640,200.

Golf Cart Permits:
Currently it cost $5.00 for a State registered Golf Cart permit and $10.00 for a Non-State-registered Golf Cart permit. The proposal is to increase both by $5 to $10 and $15 per year. That would generate about $7,000 in revenue per year ($2,525 per year increase in collections).

Cramer said he's proposing increasing fines for parking violations. The current fine for a parking violation is $10. After seven days, it increases another $10 and after 25 days, the fine is $25. Cramer proposed increasing the initial fine to $15 for the first seven days. After that, unpaid citations increase another $15. That proposal is estimated to increase revenues by $20,000 for a total of $70,000 annually.

Cramer explained, "It doesn't bring in a ton of money. It's much more the fear factor that controls that. It is trying to get people to pay a $10 penalty is not that easy. People will honestly look the other way for a $10 penalty."

Water and sewer rates will increase by 10% rather than the 11.5% increase adopted for this fiscal year. The increases are an obligation to repay revenue bonds the Town sold last year to fund infrastructure projects to improve old water and sewer lines, pave streets, and make improvements to the stormwater system.

 The next budget workshop will be held on June 1st at Town Hall at 9am.

Click here to view a presentation delivered during the meeting... (Opens PDF document).

Click here to listen to the audio recording of the May 16th, Budget Workshop... (Opens MP3 audio file).

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