By JOANNE L. PAPAIANNI
The Asbury Park City Council approved the 2017 municipal budget with preliminary figures at last week’s meeting. The final budget figures will not be known until the city learns how much transitional aid they will be receiving.
City Manager Michael Capabianco said while explaining the budget, that this should be the last year the city will apply for transitional aid.
Capabianco said the average increase for homeowners is estimated at $90.95 which is down from $150.72 in 2016 and $199.56 in 2015, showing the increases trending downward.
He also said the price of an average home in the city rose by $12,000 to $252,400 from $240,000 in 2016.
The city’s tax rate had a small decrease from 1.292 to 1.264.
There was a total increase in the city’s property value of $77,000.
Also at the meeting, Transportation Manager Michael Manzella presented new parking apps to the council to replace the currently used mPay2Park.
Manzella said he believed the Passport app would be the best fit for the city. He said the service charges 5 cents less than the 35 cents charged by mPay2Park.
Another benefit, he said, is Passport does not charge an additional fee when customers add time to the meter as the current provider does.
Manzella also said Passport has single zone parking, where customers can put in the space number only without having to know which city zone they are parking in as Pay2Park does.
The zones can be confusing for people.
He also said several large cities, including Chicago, use Passport and it generally has favorable rating.
There is also a call and text option with Passport so those adding time don’t have to use the app.
Manzella also said if the council decides to use Passport, Asbury Park will be given its own Branded app with its own name for free by the company.
“It’s easier, more user friendly,” Manzella said.
Another added benefit is the more people use the app the less stress on the parking stations.
Manzella said a future feature of the app will be to allow customers to see what parking spaces are vacant through the city.
Councilwoman Eileen Chapman asked if the app will be able to generate reports about parking and what zip code customers come from and Manzella said the current app can do that.
Current estimates about usage, he said, shows that three percent of visitors to the city use the mpay2Park app.