Surfside Beach raise parking meter fees without public's input

Surfside Beach raise parking meter fees without public's input

SURFSIDE BEACH, SC (WMBF) - Parking meter season will start March 1, and prices to park are going up.

Surfside Beach city leaders said the reason for the increase is to charge an appropriate fee for parking that will increase revenue. In addition, they wanted to add one-hour free parking on Surfside Drive.

The signs are already posted around town in parking lots and near meter stations advertising the new price.

However, city council hasn't officially passed the rate hike yet.

Residents and visitors without town parking decals will have to pay $2.00 to park at Surfside Pier.  Other parking lot meters and pay stations now charge $1.75 instead of $1.50

"The fees for parking run from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. and after that it's free parking, because we want to support the restaurants in the area," said Doug Samples, mayor of Surfside Beach.

The ordinance becomes effective once it passes two readings. The first reading was passed at the Feb. 23 city council meeting.

City officials decided to go change the parking signs to reflect the new increase priced for the start of the 2016 parking meter season.

Samples said the revenue from the parking fees is used to replace the machines at the pay stations, fix meters. and maintain the parking lots. Still, he hopes they make a profit.

Before the rate increase, the city made approximately $250,000 from parking fees, Samples said. He does not have an estimate on how much more money they will receive with the increased prices.

"In order to maintain the beach walkovers, to keep the beach clean, and get the trash picked up, it takes money," explained Samples.

The ordinance states The Value Parking Lot, located at 13 Ave. South, will remain 50 cents per hour. Also, weekly parking passes will not increase, with the price staying $40. Daily passes will jump from $8 to $10.

The ordinance also states parking spaces without meters on Surfside Drive will be allowed, but for one hour only. Visitors or residents with town parking decals can park in that area without a time limit.

Town employees said even though the new signs are posted, according to state law, council must still hold a public hearing anytime they decide to adopt or change any fees.

The public hearing and town council meeting is scheduled for March 8 at 6:30 p.m. at Surfside Beach Town Hall.

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