Texas Liberal

All People Matter

Galveston Seawall Parking Fees Should Be For Seawall Improvements—Just As Voters Thought They Had Approved

When Galveston voters approved parking fees long the Seawall last year, they did so with the expectation that they were voting for Seawall enhancements.

All you need to do is look at the picture above to see what I am saying. I took that picture last year during the campaign for parking fees on the Seawall that was claimed to be about Seawall enhancements.

And yet here is what was reported by the Galveston County Daily News on 3/22

“A private company would get more than 70 percent of the projected first year’s revenue from parking fees on the seawall under a proposed contract… some voters are asking how such a deal could be in line with a ballot proposition approved May 14. Language voters approved in that referendum led some to believe 75 percent of the program’s gross revenue would go toward seawall enhancements, such as lighting, bathrooms and showers…The controversy lies in a draft agreement being negotiated between city staff members and Tennessee-based Central Parking System…seawall parking would generate gross revenue of $1.127 million during the first year of operation. After taxes and credit card fees, the city and Central Parking would have $962,256 to split, under the terms of the formula. That would mean $285,135 — 29.6 percent — for the city, and $677,120 — 70.3 percent — for Central Parking, according to the proposed agreement……state Rep. Dan Huberty, R-Humble, is a vice president in Central Parking System.”  

Why must everything be a scam where public dollars for public purposes flow to well-connected private firms?

It is these type things that erode people’s faith in government, and strengthen the hand of the private sector to rip us all off.

Surely the City of Galveston can do a better job respecting the will of the voting public, and maintaining a public resource as valuable as the Galveston oceanfront.

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March 23, 2012 - Posted by | Uncategorized | ,

5 Comments »

  1. “A private company would get more than 70 percent of the projected first year’s revenue from parking fees on the seawall ”

    What happens in subsequent years? I’m not saying I’m for 70% going to the parking company but maybe there’s a deal where the company pays for the installation of the meters and gets more profit for a year then something more fair happens later? Just a thought. I have mixed feelings about this. I love parking for free but I’d also love to see G-Town improve its public areas. I think if some of this money was used to clean the seawall beaches or run an anti litter campaign (what’s up with texans throwing their trash on the beaches) that would be worth it.

    Comment by JM | March 23, 2012

  2. JM–Thanks for commenting.

    The newspaper article does not say that what you say is the case. Rather, it cites the way that the city wanted to do the parking as the reason that operating costs might be high. But this is not what people were told when they were voting for the proposal.

    I share your view that paying for parking is worth it if the money is used well. I visit Galveston every six weeks or so. Your comment about the litter on some of the beaches is so correct. It can be terrible in places.

    Comment by Neil Aquino | March 23, 2012

  3. The same dynamic is at work with red-light cameras. The operating company typically fronts the money for the equipment and pays to operate it. So even if the operator keeps 90 percent, cities see a good deal — free money without lifting a finger.

    “Language voters approved in that referendum led some to believe 75 percent of the program’s gross revenue would go toward seawall enhancements, such as lighting, bathrooms and showers”

    It didn’t just “lead some to believe,” it said so explicitly:

    “such seawall parking funds shall be administered by the city and restricted to the following: 75 percent for funding seawall enhancements, including, but not limited to, lighting, bathrooms, showers and litter control, which shall be funded through debt service or maintenance and operations; 15 percent being held in reserve for the replacement of capital improvements; and no more than 10 percent for administrative costs

    Council’s lame defense that the ballot meant net revenue is dishonest.

    Comment by Matt Bramanti | March 23, 2012

  4. I also find it likely that advocates of the parking proposal were not upfront with the people of Galveston.

    Comment by Neil Aquino | March 23, 2012

  5. Parking meters are only going to drive people out to the free beaches at the ends of the island. BTW I thought Texas beachers were owned by the people. More and more I see fees for parking adjacent to the beaches. Is’nt this tantamount to paying a fee to access the beach?

    Comment by Jeanette Knepp | September 23, 2012


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