By Margie Plunkett
Beachgoers may pay a quarter more an hour for parking in Delray Beach in the next budget year, which would raise about $193,000 in new fees for the city.
The parking increase was one of several proposed fee increases presented at the City Commission’s Aug. 30 workshop meeting.
Others were slips at the city marina, beach parking permits for seniors (in exchange for added parking privileges) and for several programs under Parks and Recreation.
The fee hikes still must be approved by commissioners at a regular meeting before they can become effective and weren’t factored in as revenues to the $92.9 million general fund with a $133,000 surplus that’s proposed for next fiscal year.
Commissioners gave City Manager David Harden and the city staff praise for crafting a budget with a surplus.
“The whole staff has worked very hard to put together this budget, realizing we don’t want to raise our millage rate,” Harden said.
He said the city may be able to cut the proposed tax rate slightly, from $7.19 per $1,000 of a home’s taxable value to $7.15.
The proposed fees, which will be brought to Commission again later, include the hike to $1.50 per hour for beach parking from the current $1.25.
Beach parking permits would increase $5 to $85 for a standard pass and to $90 for a senior pass, which would allow seniors access to parking areas along A1A in the off season. That measure, which would add $2,100 in revenue, kicked off a discussion among Commissioners about whether seniors with parking permits could be granted some parking privileges during the high season as well.
Boaters taking slips at the municipal marina could pay $17 or $18 a foot, which would be a reversal from last year when the city dropped the fee to $16 from $21.
The marina, which also expects to provide free parking to the boaters, now has a waiting list of 34.
Lifting boat fees to $17 per foot would equate to about $12,000 in new annual revenues for the city. The Commission discussed charging even more for slips because of the high number on the waiting list.
The capital program presented at the workshop was $39.7 million, the largest part of which is for general construction (36 percent) and with 29 percent, or $9 million, for beach restoration and renourishment.
Proposed projects include $9.9 million for the beautification of U.S. 1, which would begin in June, and an A1A project to build a pavilion as part of the beach beautification plan and the beach master plan.
The pavilion would cost $246,300, but the Beach Property Owners Association will donate $36,000 as well as the design.