(April 5, 2019) After the Ocean City Council reasoned last week that charging $5 per hour to park at the inlet lot on the Fourth of July would yield higher profit margins, it passed a resolution Monday to establish that rate for Independence Day in 2019 and future years.
Following a lengthy discussion at last Tuesday’s council work session, nary a word was spoken prior to approving inlet lot parking fees and fines during this week’s meeting.
City Engineer Terry McGean, who initially proposed a $40 all-day flat rate on July Fourth, told the council last week the inlet lot netted about $58,000 during Independence Day 2018 when the rate was $3 per hour.
McGean said the last year’s total was down significantly from the approximately $82,000 earned from inlet parking during the 2017 Fourth of July holiday when a tiered flat-rate system was employed.
The hourly rate was adopted at the inlet lot in 2018 because of unresolved programming challenges with the new Parkeon pay-by-plate system, McGean said.
McGean said previous July Fourth inlet lot rates worked on a tiered basis, with $50 charged for vehicles entering from 6 a.m. until noon, and then dropping to $30 for arrivals up to 3 p.m. and finally to $20 for those parking after that time.
After confirming pay-by-plate technology would accommodate the new structure, Council President Lloyd Martin suggested last week that the hourly charge would be more profitable.
McGean acknowledged that vehicles park for longer periods — generally up to six hours — at the inlet lot on July 4.
The $5 per hour inlet lot rate will be effective this July 4 from 12:01 a.m. until 11:59 p.m., with no exemptions for handicapped parking.
Fines will be $5 per hour for time parked plus a $25 fee that escalates to $50 if not paid within 30 days. The rates remain effective for subsequent Independence Day holidays unless changed by resolution.