CAROLINA BEACH — The cost of parking could be on the rise in the Town of Carolina Beach as the Town Council discussed the possibility of rate hikes Wednesday during a budget workshop.
Town Manager Michael Cramer presented the council with several options for parking rate increases that would help bolster the town’s revenues.
The first proposed change would be for non-residential parking decals. Currently, the decals cost $75 annually; the proposed increase would raise that to $100 per year, adding an estimated $14,575 in town revenue, Cramer said.
The majority of the people buying these parking passes are Kure Beach residents, followed by residents of Carolina Beach and Wilmington.
For at least one council member, the increase of $25 is too low.
“Well as callous as it may sound, I’m not sure the $25 is enough of a jump. We’re giving up the revenue from your meter,” Councilman Steve Shuttleworth said.
Cramer said one of the complaints he hears when the discussion of increasing non-resident parking passes is from Kure Beach residents saying they feel like the town is not, “trying to be one island,” to which Shuttleworth and Councilwoman LeAnn Pierce responded, “we aren’t.”
Daily and hourly parking rates could also be on the increase from $10 per day to $17 per day, and $2 per hour to $2.50. This rate increase would bring in an additional $258,975 to the town in revenue.
Hours, golf carts and other changes
Residential passes are not the only proposed changes for parking in Carolina Beach. Cramer also presented other changes that were not factored into the current budget, but could help increase town revenue.
An increase is also proposed for the hours of enforcement from the current hours of 8 a.m. – 7 p.m. to new expanded hours of 7 a.m. – 10 p.m.
Increasing the cost for non-residential golf cart decals could increase from $75 to $100 annually for a revenue increase of $1,450.
Residential parking passes are currently $10 per year but could see an increase to $20 for a $62,450 increase in town revenue. The increase of residential golf cart parking passes from $10 to $20 would bring in an additional $5,820 to the town.
Cramer also examined the financial impact of increasing rates to Freeman Park, although it should be noted these are only suggestions and have not been implemented yet.
Freeman Park annual passes are currently $150 annually, but if the rate were increased to $175 the town would net an additional $37,275. Once again, Shuttleworth stated he would like to raise rates higher than suggested.
“I would like to take the Freeman Park annual cost to $200, $150 on the early bird,” Shuttleworth said.
Daily passes are currently $30, but if increased to $40 Cramer estimates an increase of $165,680. Despite the potential increase of costs for Freeman Park, Cramer said he is not concerned with losing park visitors.
“The trend has been that we’ve been raising rates in Freeman and we have yet to lose any real number of visitors,” he said.
The Carolina Beach Town Council will vote to approve the final budget in June, before it is implemented July 1.
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