IOP parking fees to increase after new parking fees decrease city's revenue

ISLE OF PALMS, SC (WCSC) - More changes are coming to parking fees on the Isle of Palms this year after the city’s revenue from parking kiosk transactions declined from 2017 to 2018.

Isle of Palms officials changed parking kiosk fees in the Municipal Lots on Pavilion Drive in May.

Prior to changing the parking fees in May, visitors paid $8 on weekdays and $10 on weekends and holidays to park in the lots. That cost changed to $1 per hour.

Parking costs are only applicable during the designated “season,” which runs from March 1 to Oct. 1.

During those months, the city made $677,379 in parking kiosk transactions in 2017. The city’s revenue from kiosks dropped by $43,159 during the season in 2018, for which 6 of the 8 months had the parking cost change.

The changes resulted in the loss of about $120,000 in general fund revenue, according to City Administrator Desiree Fragoso.

However, parking kiosk transactions actually increased during the 2018 season. There were 151,691 kiosk transactions in 2017 and 183,661 transactions in 2018.

The city’s administrator said many people could have refilled their kiosks to add additional hours to their parking, which would have inflated the transaction total.

After a loss in revenue, the Isle of Palms City Council voted during its last meeting to change parking rates again.

Starting March 1, Municipal Lots will cost $10 during the week and $12 during the weekends and holidays.

“It’s not gated, it’s public," Isle of Palms resident Janet Hall said. “People should be able to go to the beach.”

But not everyone on Isle of Palms is against the change.

“Beach traffic is really pretty bad during the summer time,” Judy Snyder said. “There’s people looking for parking places, and I think it would alleviate a lot of the congestion.”

Some residents have expressed concern over how the parking fee changes will impact the revenue of local restaurants.

“Why go over there when you can come here and save money?" Hall asked. “You’ve got free parking and that’s the way it should be.”

Isle of Palms City Administrator Desiree Fragoso said in a statement the changes should help the city recover the revenue lost last summer, along with an additional $172,000 in revenue for the City.

Fragoso said in her statement that the money could be “used to fund General Fund expenditures including those for Fire, Police and Public Works operations which are significantly impacted by tourism during the beach season.”

The new change will include an option for people to pay hourly after 4 p.m.

The changes to parking kiosk prices for the 2019 season also include a 50 cent increase to on-street parking, which brings the price to $2 per hour, which matches the cost of street parking in downtown Charleston.

Copyright 2019 WCSC. All rights reserved.

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