CAROLINA BEACH, N.C. (WECT) – The Town of Carolina Beach is looking for a new parking management company after the Town Council voted to terminate their current contact with Reef, following some concerns ranging from faulty parking meters to a loss of revenues.
“We want to take a look at other options to see how we can increase that revenue. It’s only fair to our citizens that pay taxes that we do that. The other reason is it’s a customer service issue when someone comes to this town and has a bad experience parking, trying to pay and having a meter that doesn’t work. It’s not a good look on Carolina Beach,” Councilman Jay Healy said.
So just how important to the town is paid parking?
This year, parking revenues were predicted to be around $1.9 million, that’s roughly the same as sales taxes. In fact, paid parking is second only to property taxes when it comes to revenue generators in the town.
Since the town has faced some issues with Reef, Town Council agreed to open the process up to allow new companies to submit their plans to possibly increase efficiency in the town.
“I feel it is council’s fiduciary responsibility to address the parking challenges we have, maximize our revenue potential, and ensure a positive guest experience in our town. The RFP process will get ideas from many parking companies and competition will drive improvements,” Councilman Lynn Barbee said.
Reef parking is not the only challenge the town faces with parking lots. Apart from the town-owned lots, there are also private lots that charge for parking as well. These lots are not managed by the town and charge around double what the town charges — something Healy said can be a deterrent for customers.
“Private lots are tough to manage, first of all, we can’t manage them. But when talking about the consumer experience, when they come down here and they go into a private lot, they have no idea that it is a private lot. They charge $40-45 versus $20 for our lot — that’s not a good taste in that consumer’s mind,” Healy said.
The town’s contract with Reef will expire on Oct. 31 so visitors using town-owned lots will still have to pay for parking until then.
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