Any idea floating among island and mainland residents that the mayors in Anna Maria and Holmes Beach are simply talking about — not acting — on paid parking appeared to be put to rest at the Aug. 20 meeting of the Coalition of Barrier Island Elected Officials.
Officials at the meeting heard a presentation from Daniel Honyotski, regional manager for PSx Parking Solutions, on how the company designs a paid-parking plan for a city. His company provides equipment that accommodates 100 parking spaces.
The newest PSx operation is in Madeira Beach in Pinellas County, he said.
The machines accept coins, bills and credit cards and users determine the amount of time they want to purchase, he said.
Honyotski said he’s installed machines for 100-space parking lots and one as small as eight spaces.
The machines cost $8,491 plus an $800 installation fee. In addition, the company charges a fee of $55 per month for solar power equipment and services, including processing and information about usage.
But the return on investment is quick. Madeira Beach recovered its investment in about a month, he said. Most cities take about a month-and-a-half to recoup the investment.
“It’s totally programmable for minimum and maximum amount of time to purchase and we provide 24/7 support,” Honyotski said. The company also trains a city staff member for routine maintenance and operation.
He estimated one machine handling a 30-space parking area would recover its cost in about 45 days. “Thirty spaces per meter is our basic rule.”
Holmes Beach Mayor Carmel Monti, who invited Honyotski to the meeting, was impressed. “In one-and-a-half months, the machines could pay back the cost. That’s incredible,” Monti said.
Anna Maria Mayor SueLynn also was intrigued. She said Anna Maria has been providing free parking to day visitors for too long, and the city gets nothing in return but litter and damaged swales.
“I don’t know what to do with the day visitors,” she said.
“Paid parking is simple and a revenue source, but where do we put it?” she wondered. “If parking is free in one place, and costs in another, people will go where it’s free.”
She added that if paid parking is done it would be “in the best interests of the residents.”
Monti said he’s had discussions with county administrator Ed Hunzeker about paid parking at Manatee Public Beach. He said Hunzeker would like to have the island cities “on board” with the proposal, and Anna Maria could ask for paid parking at Bayfront Park.
“What the county wants is a consensus from us,” Monti said.
“Hunzeker is open-minded. If we go in unified, we have a good chance of getting concessions from the county for paid parking,” he said.
SueLynn said she has several areas for paid parking locations where the PSx machines would work.
Bradenton Beach Mayor John Shaughnessy said his parking problems are different from those in Anna Maria and Holmes Beach because both Cortez Beach and Coquina Beach have a large number of parking spaces.
His concern is with parking along Bridge Street and at the Historic Bridge Street Pier.
Monti and SueLynn said they would discuss PSx and its proposal with their respective city commissions.
In other business, Holmes Beach Commissioner Jean Peelen reported that she and SueLynn now are members of the Florida League of Cities Policy Committee.
The committee plans to ask the 2014 Florida Legislature for changes to House Bill 883, which effectively allows any property owner to rent his or her residence for even one night, unless restrictions were in effect before the bill passed in 2012.
“Some of the legislators apparently have found nightly rentals right next to their homes,” Peelen said.
The next BIEO meeting will be at 2 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 18, at Bradenton Beach City Hall, 107 Gulf Drive N.