New Smyrna Beach city elders looking at metered boat parking as means to pay for maintenance of parks
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NEW SMYRNA BEACH – With 2013 looming on the horizon, city officials said tonight they are worried how they will pay for the maintenance of parks they will inherit once Volusia County no longer will be responsible for the costs.
In just three years Volusia County will hand over the responsibility of two parks to the city and will no longer be responsible for upkeep and maintenance expenses. City commissioners are considering ways to raise revenue to handle maintenance costs at 27th Avenue and the Flagler Avenue beach front.
One of the ways is passing on the costs to boaters and bathers with the implementation of metered parking. On a trial basis, city commissioners are considering installing metered parking at the city-owned North Causeway Boat Ramp by using parking kiosks.
During the Tuesday night commission meeting, commissioners passed on first reading an ordinance that would amend the Code of Ordinances by providing for designation of off-street metered parking areas.
The city’s Department of Parks and Recreation conducted surveys at different intervals counting the number of cars with boat trailers pulling into the boat ramp area on the North Causeway. Staff recommended it would be economically feasible to raise enough money to help pay for maintenance costs by charging a $5 fee for every 24-hour period for parking a vehicle with a boat trailer. No parking charge would be levied for vehicles without a trailer or utilizing the fishing pier.
Parks and Recreation Director Liz Yancey said staff had taken several surveys of cars and boat trailers pulling into the North Causeway boat ramp area during both weekdays and weekends.
Conservatively, she said, there are plenty of users to help offset maintenance costs. But it wasn’t all about maintenance costs. Traffic control was another issue.
Commissioner Lynne Plaskett said even by adding parking kiosks, it still wouldn’t address the parking along the North Causeway.
“People will park there more if they have to pay a meter,” she said.
Commissioner and Vice Mayor Jim Hathaway was confused: “Is this an exercise to control parking or one to raise money for maintenance fees? We need to know.”
Hathaway said he didn’t think money raised through meters would be enough to offset maintenance costs, prompting assistant city manager Khalid Resheidat to say the city had to start somewhere.
“The maintenance costs will keep going up,” he said. “For $5 to park, I don’t think that’s unreasonable.” Hathaway said he would vote in favor of the ordinance on first reading, but continued, "I want answers before the second reading because if you’re trying to earn money for maintenance costs, it’s not going to happen.”
At the next commission meeting on March 8, a second reading on the ordinance will be held along with the proposal to pay for three parking kiosks for use at the city’s North Causeway Boat Ramp property. Commissioners agreed the price is not to exceed $60,000
About the contributing writer:
Dale Smith is a resident of New Smyrna Beach, who has reported on local news in Volusia County since October 2009. His writing background includes a mix of journalism and public relations in several community newspapers and a p.r. firm in northern Virginia. He attended Barton Academy in Barton, Vt., and the Cambridge (Mass.) School of Broadcasting for radio & TV broadcasting.
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