Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Pasco commissioners vote to keep Hudson Beach parking fees

DADE CITY — On his first day on the job, Pasco Commissioner Henry Wilson Jr. wasted no time setting his agenda:

He made a motion to exempt Hudson Beach from the dozen county parks that will soon begin charging $2 parking fees to compensate for declining property tax revenue.

The motion quickly got support from Commissioner Jack Mariano, who unsuccessfully pressed his colleagues in September to raise property taxes slightly rather than charge the parking fees. He argued, too, that Hudson Beach business owners would suffer because of the fees.

"We're talking about hurting businesses," he said.

The other three commissioners rejected the idea.

Commissioner Ted Schrader said it was unfair to exempt Hudson Beach, noting that the 2010-11 budget was approved on the assumption that the park fees would go into place.

"Nobody likes them, but fees have to go up," he said.

New parks and recreation fees, including the $2 parking charges, are expected to raise nearly $877,000 this year. County officials expect parking fees just at Hudson Beach to raise $14,420.

Rather than pay $2 for each park visit, residents can pay $60 for annual park passes. About 250 of those passes have been sold.

Mariano and Wilson argued that Hudson Beach was a special case because businesses might lose customers put off by the charges.

In making his motion, Wilson said he recently received a phone call from Mike Malacos, owner of Inn on the Gulf, an 18-room hotel and restaurant at Hudson Beach.

Malacos was an outspoken opponent of the parking fees, collecting signatures of other opponents and publicly criticizing the commissioners who had supported the fees. His Inn on the Gulf also made a $250 contribution to Wilson's political campaign shortly after commissioners approved the fees.

Officials say they plan to shut off enforcement in the early evening so that people who go to the parks to enjoy the sunset won't be charged. But Wilson said he's also heard from senior citizens who go to Hudson Beach to exercise.

Schrader and commissioners Ann Hildebrand and Pat Mulieri countered that was the case with the other parks, too.

After the commissioners took the vote, the debate continued.

Mariano suggested the board could have used savings from the construction of an animal shelter to cover the $14,420 that Hudson Beach parking fees are projected to raise.

Schrader shook his head.

"Why are we still discussing this?" he said. "So Commissioner Mariano can sit there and say we're bad people?"

Jodie Tillman can be reached at or (727) 869-6247.

Pasco commissioners vote to keep Hudson Beach parking fees 11/16/10 [Last modified: Tuesday, November 16, 2010 9:35pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Five reasons why Kentucky can beat Florida for the first time since 1986


    By Matt Baker

    GAINESVILLE — Florida's 30-game winning streak over Kentucky is one of the most impressive feats in the country.

    Florida Gators offensive lineman Martez Ivey (73) celebrates Florida Gators running back Mark Thompson's  (24) touch down in the first quarter, putting Florida on the board 6-0 during the game between the University of Florida and the University of Kentucky in Ben Hill Griffin Stadium on Saturday, Sept. 10, 2016, in Gainesville, Fla. Florida defeated Kentucky 45-7. ANDRES LEIVA   |   Times

  2. Once targeted by the Bucs, Dalvin Cook thrills for the Vikings


    How good would the Bucs be with running back Dalvin Cook?

    Minnesota Vikings running back Dalvin Cook (33) slips a tackle by Steelers strong safety Sean Davis (28) to score a touchdown Sunday in Pittsburgh. [AP photo]
  3. Review: More than 20 years later, 'RENT' still matters


    TAMPA — Two decades after Rent shook up Broadway with a starkly joyous musical that demanded to be recognized, a nostalgic tour is taking audiences back.

    The 20th anniversary tour of RENT, shown in 2016, comes to the David A. Straz Jr. Center for the Performing Arts Sept. 19-24, 2017. Photo by Carol Rosegg.
  4. Dennis Miller, headed to Tampa with Bill O'Reilly: 'We don't know each other that well'


    Dennis Miller often gets cast as the odd comic out these days.

    Dennis Miller will perform with Bill O'Reilly at the Spin Stops Here Tour at Amalie Arena in Tampa. [Spuffy Productions]
  5. Tampa Bay among top 25 metro areas with fastest growing economies

    Economic Development

    Tampa Bay had the 24th fastest growing economy among 382 metro areas in the country for 2016. According to an analysis by the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis, Tampa Bay's gross domestic product, or GDP, increased 4.2 percent from 2015 to 2016 to hit $126.2 billion.

    Tampa Bay had the 24th fastest growing economy in the country for 2016. Rentals were one of the areas that contributed to Tampa Bay's GDP growth. Pictured is attorney David Eaton in front of his rental home.