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B Beach parking permits sale to resume

By MEGHAN BRADBURY - | Sep 23, 2020

news@breezenewspapers.com

The sale of B beach parking permits will resume this November with a discussion of possibly raising the fees in the future.

Sanibel City Manager Judie Zimomra said City Council suspended the sale of B Beach Parking permits (stickers) when the beaches were closed.

“Those have not been restored at this time,” she said, adding that they are prepared to restore the sales. “Eventually the sun will shine again and people will look at opportunities to get back to the beach for season.”

Zimomra said their intent is to start reselling all the stickers at the normal schedule of Nov. 1 with an expiration of Nov. 31 to give individuals a month to purchase the permits.

We’ve “already purchased the stickers. It all comes through the front desk of the Rec Center,” she said.

Zimomra said she anticipates a demand for B stickers since they have not been available for purchase.

The city offers five different parking permits. The resident A is $12 for taxpayer and property owners. Restricted B permits are $124 for nonresidents.

Finance Director Steve Chaipel said the B sticker changed from $102 to $124 in fiscal year 2018. 

Mayor Kevin Ruane said the beach parking permit is an issue that people who apply for are very passionate about. He said he would be remise if they did not look at the fee at an annual basis.

“No matter what we do here we are going to be criticized,” Ruane said.

He said they all agreed to raise the parking fee fines, which he would like to take that spirit as part of the process at looking to adjust the beach parking permit fees.

“At the very least adjust the fee at an annual basis,” Ruane said, which he said Councilman Chauncey Goss recommended because it is a mechanism that brings the fee back to them on a regular basis. 

Councilman Richard Johnson agreed that they should look at it on a consistent basis, rather than wait and get a big hit.

“Let’s keep up with it. I would say as a business person, let’s look at the market value,” he said.

There was a consensus to have a minimal increase for A stickers, with a more significant increase for B stickers.

Ruane said they should give consideration to the A permits because they are paying taxes. He said in his opinion he would raise a user fee, rather than a tax.

“If we pay for it out of the general fund the taxpayers get doubled charged,” Ruane said, adding that the people coming to use their resources should pay for the infrastructure.

He said they sell anywhere from 4,200 to 4,300 A stickers of the 5,500 to 5,900 total stickers a year.

“The bulk of what we sell is A stickers. I do want to put on the record that we haven’t raised A sticker prices in I can’t tell you how long. There is more of a demand for the beach. The budget right now does not have any increases,” Ruane said. “Our beach parking is going to continue at a pace that we did not anticipate.”

He asked staff to bring back a matrix of costs for the beach permits.