inlet lot

Ocean City Council this week officially set prices at $5 per hour to park at the inlet lot on the Fourth of July in 2019 and future years

(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.

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