It’s Your Money: Parking costs, revenue across the Grand Strand

It’s Your Money: Parking costs, revenue across the Grand Strand

MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) - Cities down the coast work with Lanier Parking to generate hundreds of thousands of dollars in paid parking during the tourist season.

Paid parking generated $1.6 million for Myrtle Beach in 2018. The revenue was down 14% from the previous year.

A report from Lanier Parking said, “The entire season was plagued with unseasonable and record setting rainfall and ended with the results of Hurricane Florence, ending the season early in September.”

Last year was the first time parking revenue decreased since 2013.

There were 13,000 violations that generated $220,000, a sum that was close to $100,000 lower than 2017 and $200,000 lower than 2016. The money collected from parking violations goes into Myrtle Beach’s general fund.

The money collected from the parking program funds the management of the program and the nonprofit, Myrtle Beach Downtown Redevelopment Corporation (DRC).

Around 46% of the money generated last year went back into the program.

Lanier Parking gets paid in Myrtle Beach to manage the program.

“They manage the entire program from start to finish from hiring the employees that work for Lanier and then from fixing the meters on the street and repairing and collecting the money off the street so they do everything,” explained Lauren Clever, the Myrtle Beach Downtown Redevelopment Corporation executive director. “It’s kind of like a one-stop shop.”

After paying for operations and maintenance, the DRC uses the remaining money to enhance the downtown area.

“Anything that has to do with the downtown,” Clever said. “It could be an event, it could be, like I said, just partnering with a city on a project to help improve the area.”

Clever said the money funded enhancements to Nance Plaza, Pyler Park and added hanging baskets downtown. Recently, the funds have paid for consultants, like Benchmark, to develop the downtown master plan.

The corporation spent more than $81,000 for the plan, according to city receipts.

In the neighboring municipalities of Surfside Beach and North Myrtle Beach, parking revenue is put back into the parking program.

Surfside Beach’s financial director said the funds are used to buy new land and maintain lots.

The town generated $334,000 from July 2018 to May 2019 for fees and citations. It spent a little less than half on expenses. The net revenue was around $23,000 higher than the previous year.

North Myrtle Beach began it’s parking program this summer with Lanier.

City spokesperson Pat Dowling said from mid-June to mid-July the city collected $100,000 from parking.

Like the other municipalities, North Myrtle Beach will pay Lanier nearly $2,000 each month and 6.5% of gross revenue.

“By contracting with Lanier for its management services, the City avoids having to hire additional full-time employees who would not only require salaries but would qualify to receive all other City employee benefits, resulting in a much larger monetary investment,” Dowling said in an email.

Dowling also points out by having Lanier write tickets for for parking violations, the city police are free to focus on larger needs.

The money North Myrtle Beach generates will go back into its public parking program.

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