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CEPD keeps parking rates, cancels attendants

By Staff | Jun 16, 2020

At its recent meeting, the Captiva Erosion Prevention District’s commission decided to retain the current parking rate fees and cancel the weekend attendants at the Alison Hagerup Beach lot.

On June 8, Administrator Joe Wagenti proposed returning the fees to $30 for all-day parking, $15 for three hours and $10 for two hours at the Hagerup lot. Last month, the commissioners approved increasing the fees to $40 for all day and $25 for two hours in an effort to decrease traffic congestion.

At the time, only one lot on Sanibel was open to non-islanders, funneling visitors up to Captiva in search of beach parking. With the increase in traffic, there were backups from vehicles trying to park.

On June 2, the city of Sanibel reopened its city-owned and operated lots.

Wagenti explained to the commission that about $38,000 in parking fee revenue was collected from mid-May to the month’s end, and that he projects the CEPD will collect at least $40,000 in June. When asked about the “negatives” for maintaining the increased fees, Wagenti pointed to public feedback.

“Just a few comments here and there that our rates are too high,” he said.

Commissioner Michael Lanigan voiced support for keeping the fees as they are.

“I think it’s useful,” Chairman Mike Mullins said in agreement, explaining that the higher fees are helping to reduce demand for parking in the Hagerup lot, which helps reduce traffic congestion.

After some discussion, the commission decided to retain the current fees.

On a related note, Wagenti also suggested ending the weekend beach attendants at the lot.

He explained that staff implemented the on-site attendants from Friday through Monday to assist with lot cleaning and upkeep, as recommended by Lee County in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We’re the only beach that’s doing it,” Wagenti said.

Following some questions about the cleaning frequency of the portable restrooms, the commissioners agreed with canceling the weekend attendant service but ensuring daily cleaning of the restrooms.

Also at the meeting, the commission voted 5-0 to approve the CEPD’s fiscal year 2018-19 audit and findings. Wagenti will now submit the final document to the state before the deadline on June 30.

On a related topic, Treasurer Dick Pyle shared during the monthly financial reports that staff had agreed at a recent budget workshop to propose an increased ad valorem tax for the upcoming budget hearings for 2020-21. The current millage rate is 0.4291, and staff will suggest a 25 percent hike.

IN OTHER NEWS

– Wagenti reported that he heard back from Lee County regarding the required permitting for the installation of the bathroom trailer at the Alison Hagerup Beach lot. He was informed an amendment to the South Seas Island Resort easement or a county right of way agreement is needed for the work.

Wagenti continued that South Seas is currently not open to further improvement to its easement, so staff has been working with the county instead to do what needs to be done via the right of way.

– Wagenti reported that John Riegert Jr. is no longer employed with the CEPD.

He estimated that it will take two or three weeks to fill the position.