Bethany Beach Considering Parking Fee Increase - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Bethany Beach Considering Parking Fee Increase

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BETHANY BEACH, Del.- If you are heading to the beach this summer, you might need a little more cash than usual. Bethany Beach is considering raising its parking fees for the second time in six years, to $1.75. This would make the fees the highest of all the Delaware Beaches.

Mayor Jack Gordon told WBOC that the increases were in order to cover rising operation costs.

"There are increased expenses for our summer activity," he said.

Gordon said that summer revenue, which is kept separate from the general town fund, is expected to be short by about $160,000, according to town estimates. Gordon said there are many reasons for this shortfall.

"We have more lifeguards this year," he said. "We pay a competitive wage, which is up a little bit from last year. We're having more bandstand activities. Movies on the beach going beyond the end - the traditional end of the season."

Gordon said that the quarter increase from $1.50 would go a long way. All in all, the town estimates that this increase would bring in a projected $190,000 in additional revenue.

Eric Efergan, the owner of Tropicana, a store on the boardwalk, said he sees both sides. He said he definitely wanted the town to invest in the lifeguards and the beach, but he said he also didn't want to overcharge the tourists.

The increase would make Bethany Beach parking the most expensive of all coastal cities in Delaware. Rehoboth and Dewey Beach charge $1.50 per hour, and Lewes charges $1.00 per hour.

"We might need more lifeguards," he said. "And yes, we need more time on the bandstand. But we got to try to make it easier on the tourists coming down. Not to put more stress on them, because the bottom line is they're on vacation."

Meanwhile, tourist Jean Dormer of Salisbury, who was enjoying the boardwalk with her husband Friday, said the fee wouldn't keep her away from a good vacation spot.

"Thinking about an extra quarter an hour," she said. "For more amenities, it's a good thing."

Council is going to further discuss the fee increase proposal at their meeting on February 19th. The are expected to make a formal vote on their budget in March.

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