Carolina Beach Council Discusses Increasing Parking Rates And Hours

The Carolina Beach Town Council discussed raising parking rates and extending hours of enforcement during their May 22nd, budget workshop. Part of the proposal was to extend parking enforcement year round. Currently enforcement runs from April 1st to October 31st. Parking is free during the off-season months. The proposal was to raise the rate from $2.00 to $2.50 per hour for metered spaces and the daily rate in Town owned parking lots from $10 to $17. Town Manager Michael Cramer estimates additional parking revenues of $358,550 per year. The Council had mixed opinions. The Carolina Beach Town Council discussed raising parking rates and extending hours of enforcement during their May 22nd, budget workshop. Part of the proposal was to extend parking enforcement year round. Currently enforcement runs from April 1st to October 31st. Parking is free during the off-season months. The proposal was to raise the rate from $2.00 to $2.50 per hour for metered spaces and the daily rate in Town owned parking lots from $10 to $17. Town Manager Michael Cramer estimates additional parking revenues of $358,550 per year. The Council had mixed opinions.

Carolina Beach Council Discusses Increasing Parking Rates And Hours Featured

By / Local News / Wednesday, 30 May 2018 15:11

By WILLARD KILLOUGH III
Managing Editor

CAROLINA BEACH - The Carolina Beach Town Council discussed a proposal to increase parking rates and extend parking enforcement year-round during their May 22, budget workshop meeting.

Council opinions were mixed on the issue of extending enforcement year-round. Currently parking enforcement for metered spaces and Town owned parking lots operates from April 1st to October 31st. During the off-season parking is free.

The proposal was to raise the metered rates from $2.00 per hour to $2.50 per hour and to raise the daily rate in parking lots from $10 to $17. Town Manager Michael Cramer estimates that would generate an additional $358,550 per year. In the current 2017-2018 fiscal year budget, parking revenues were estimated at $1,007,200. Of those revenues, the Town contracts with a parking enforcement company to manage enforcement and collections from meters, pay stations and parking citations as well as managing the entrance to Freeman Park for four-wheel drive access to the beach beyond the end of Canal Drive.

The additional revenues would go towards reducing a budget gap of around $1.8 million dollars in addition to a proposed one-cent increase on the property tax rate, a 1.6% increase in the solid waste fee, adjusting some other rates and taking $956,997 from the Town's General Fund Reserves to balance the budget for fiscal year 2018-2019.

Cramer explained, "Parking rates. We talked about various different types of parking rates that could be changed and adjusted. Things such as the cost per hour either at a meter or a lot or the daily charge in a lot and bringing that up to $2.50 per hour and $17.00 per day. That would be exactly comparable to Wrightsville Beach. With that, along with going to year round parking, we believe we could bring in an additional $358,000 - or thereabouts - associated to just parking revenue."

Councilman Steve Shuttleworth said, "To get to $358,000, was that taking it up to $2.50 an hour?"

Cramer said, "That was taking it up to $2.50 an hour, $17 a day, that was going year-round."

Councilman Jodan Garza asked, "Did we increase the hours of the time" for enforcement?

Cramer said, "We have not and that was the one thing I wanted to mention."

Council member Leann Pierce said she wasn't in favor of extending parking enforcement year round, but would consider extending the hours for enforcement.

Currently parking is enforced beginning April 1st continuing through October 31st.  During this time paid parking is in effect from 8:00 am until 7:00 pm seven days a week.

Councilman Garza said, "What's wrong with the year round if more than 80% of our residents hold passes?"

Property owners, permanent residents and business owners can purchase an annual parking permit for $10.00 in order to park at metered spaces and in lots free of charge.

Council member Tom Bridges said, "If they are local they have a pass."

Garza said, "At the last meeting, Michael said that roughly almost 5,000 residents held an annual parking pass. Statistically, moving it year round should not affect anybody if they've already paid that $10 for that pass."

Pierce said it was her impression that Councilman Shuttleworth expressed a concern about encouraging people to come to Town in the off-season months and, "Let's let them park to come and enjoy the beach and spend their money down here."

Councilman Shuttleworth said, "All I was saying was I wanted a clarification from Michael on what he included to get to the $358,000. Because we had never said go year round. What we did say is go to $2.50 an hour. We talked about going to the $17.00 per day. We talked about potentially going from $10 to $20 on our resident parking decal. We had not looked at the year round."

Pierce said, "I'm ok with Memorial Day to Labor Day, extending the hours from 7am to whatever it be, 10pm, which a lot of people come at night to come and eat dinner and visit" local businesses.

Council asked Cramer to find further reductions in the budget to close the $1.8 million dollar gap and were all reluctant to raise the property tax rate by one cent from 22.5 to 23.5 cents per $100 dollars of property value.

The Council will meet again on Wednesday morning, May 30th, at 9am at Town Hall in the  Council meeting room to hold further discussions on the budget.

The Council will hold a public hearing on the proposed budget at their June 12th, meeting. The Council is required by State Law to adopt a balanced budget by June 30th to start on July 1st.

For more info on the proposed budget for the upcoming 2018-2019 fiscal year, visit the Town's website at www.carolinabeach.org

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