Belmar to keep $1 beach parking fee until 2020

The borough council has pulled back on a proposal to double parking fees on Ocean Avenue for this year. [DANIELLA HEMINGHAUS]

BELMAR — The municipal parking fee for spaces along Ocean Avenue will remain at $1 for the rest of the summer, following a decision by the borough council to table a fee hike until next year.

Approval of the ordinance would have applied a new $2 fee too late in the current season to justify the transition, Mayor Mark Walsifer said, at the council’s Aug. 6 meeting. Under state law, the ordinance could not have gone into effect until 20 days later, on Aug. 26. The borough’s beach season ends immediately after Labor Day, which is Sept. 2 this year.

“Since there is only going to be eight days left of the summer, we are going to table that and redo the whole thing and try to do it the right way for next summer,” Mayor Walsifer said. 

Members of the borough council, with the exception of Councilman Jim McCracken, who was not present, voted unanimously to table the ordinance 2019-30, which would have to increase the hourly parking fee for stalls along Ocean Avenue from $1 to $2.

Funds collected from the parking meters, located on Ocean Avenue and primarily used by beachgoers, are split between the borough’s beach and parking utilities. 

“Our issue with those parking meters, is that most of the money that went to the beach [utility] was not enough to cover the expenses that were coming out of the parking authority,” Mayor Walsifer said. 

According to the 2019 municipal budget that was adopted earlier this year, the borough had expected to make $120,000 in parking fees which were slated to go to the parking utility. Last year, the borough collected $142,803 in fees.

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