Although the plan to install parking meters at the beachfront in Asbury Park drew its share of criticism when it was introduced five years ago, it has paid off this year as revenues reached $3.4 million as of August 23.
And with four months more to go in 2016 that number could rise to close to $5 milllion.
Many balked when the city first decided to begin charging for parking at the beachfront as redevelopment efforts moved forward.
Residents and business owners who had been instrumental in revitalization efforts over the past decade, thought it unfair and a hindrance to those who want to come to town to shop and dine.
But the city moved forward with the plan, installing meters first on Ocean Avenue and then, when the program was successful, meters moved to the downtown area.
Many residents have asked what parking revenues will be used for, with some suggesting road repairs.
However, City Manager Michael Capabianco said the funds have to be used for parking related items, such as new meters, staffing or striping the roads and could not be used to offset property taxes.
Mayor John Moor said this week that parking utility funds had been applied in last year’s budget to offset property taxes but explained that the funds can not be used in the same year they are collected.
He said his understanding is that only what has been budgeted can be used in each year but that revenues can be included in the city’s general fund in subsequent budgets.
He believed it is a two year process before the funds will be available for whatever the governing body wants to use them for.
The council has still not crafted its 2016 budget due to the delay in transitional aid figures from Trenton.
Governor Chris Christie put a freeze on releasing the figures until last week when it was announced that the aid will be forthcoming.
The actual dollar amount and when the city will receive them, however, has not been revealed by the Division of Local Government Services, Capabianco said.
Mayor Moor and the entire council have expressed hope that this will be the last year the city will have to apply for transitional aid, which is strictly monitored by the state.