Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Skip $2 parking fee at Pasco parks, risk $20 ticket

NEW PORT RICHEY — Controversial parking fees at 11 county parks came up again at Tuesday's County Commission meeting, drawing angry residents and causing two commissioners to raise their voices at each other.

Last year, Pasco deputies cited nearly a dozen residents who didn't pay the $2 parking fee. But Commissioner Jack Mariano, whose district includes the popular Hudson Beach, called the system "voluntary" and said the county couldn't legally hand out tickets.

So commissioners voted 4-1 on Tuesday to amend the county parking ordinance and allow deputies to issue $20 tickets. Mariano was the lone vote against the move.

The fees have been contentious since commissioners adopted them in September to raise revenue. That animosity spilled into Tuesday's meeting as Commissioner Pat Mulieri got into a heated argument with Mariano.

"The reason there's the heartache out there about these fees is because they were supposed to be where people weren't forced to pay," Mariano said.

"We've listened to you long enough," Mulieri said, cutting him off. "I'm tired of listening to you, bottom line."

Mariano responded: "Listen to the people."

Mulieri said the county had to either raise taxes or create user fees to close a $800,000 shortfall in the parks budget. Otherwise, she said, the county would have to close some parks.

"Do you think that we would try to make up the $800,000 by saying to people, 'Aw, you know what, could you give us a couple bucks?' " she said.

The proposal again brought several angry residents from the Hudson area, including from Julia Stevens, who bought a $60 yearly parking pass last fall. She asked officials to credit her for the months they were working out enforcement procedures and said many residents were confused.

"You didn't know how to enact an ordinance properly," she said.

During later discussion, commissioners extended an olive branch: They voted not to enforce the parking fee after 5 p.m. at Strickland Memorial Park, better known as Hudson Beach. Mariano argued restaurants near the park would be hurt by a drop in business during dinnertime.

"I think you'll make a lot of people happy," he said.

Lee Logan can be reached at llogan@sptimes.com or (727) 869-6236.

Skip $2 parking fee at Pasco parks, risk $20 ticket 02/22/11 [Last modified: Tuesday, February 22, 2011 8:59pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Warehouse burns on Tampa's east side

    News

    TAMPA — Hillsborough County emergency crews are at the scene of a two-alarm fire at a warehouse near 56th Street and East Hillsborough Avenue.

    Hillsborough County firefighters battle a blaze Thursday night at a warehouse on Hillsborough Avenue in Tampa. [Hillsborough County Fire Rescue]
  2. 'Dream big' drives Lightning's Conacher brothers

    Lightning Strikes

    BRANDON — Two words: Dream big.

    Cory Conacher includes them every time he signs an autograph for a young hockey fan.

    Tampa Bay Lightning forward Cory Conacher (89) on the ice during Lightning training camp in Brandon Friday morning (09/15/17).
  3. Irma roughs up endangered snail kites, birds that help us gauge the Everglades' health

    Wildlife

    Hurricane Irma was as rough on some wildlife as it was on the humans. Audubon of Florida reported Thursday that the storm destroyed all 44 nests around Lake Okeechobee built by the endangered Everglades snail kite, a bird considered crucial to the River of Grass ecosystem.

    Hurricane Irma destroyed 44 snail kite nests, capping off a poor mating season for the endangered species, which is seen as an important barometer of the health of the Florida Everglades. Their off-center beaks allow them to probe inside the spiral shells of the native apple snails. But the snails' population has dropped as the Everglades has changed. [MAC STONE | Audubon of Florida]
  4. New center opens in Tampa to help those with missing, damaged limbs

    Veterans

    TAMPA — Justin Lansford, his service dog Gabe by his side, smiled broadly Thursday as he imagined the future of a sprawling, resource center for people who need artificial limbs and those interested in helping them.

    Justin Lansford, 27, lost his left leg above the knee in Afghanistan. He was one of dozens of people attending the opening of the Veterans International Institute of Orthotics & Prosthetics in Tampa on Thursday. [HOWARD ALTMAN   |   Staff]
  5. Still worried about family, Tampa Bay Puerto Ricans ramp up relief effort

    Hurricanes

    TAMPA — Brenda Irizarry is worried.

    Brenda Irizarry of Tampa, while agonizing over the status of family in storm-ravaged Puerto Rico, is helping lead an effort to collect and send supplies to the island. [ALESSANDRA DA PRA  |   Times
]