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City, county at an impasse over beach parking money

Posted at 7:01 PM, Nov 02, 2017
and last updated 2017-11-02 19:01:35-04

Collier County leaders say they're at an impasse with the City of Naples in trying to work out an agreement  to allow county residents to continue parking for free at Naples beaches. The county has been paying the city $1 million a year for the privilege, but Naples Mayor Bill Barnett says that needs to increase.

"It's not equitable," Barnett said Thursday. "It's just costing us a lot more."

The two local governments have been negotiating for months. This week, the Naples city manager sent the county the latest request from the city - for $1,500,000 a year. 

"We just want what's fair for us," Barnett said.

"We said no and made a counter offer," said Collier County Commissioner Penny Taylor.

Taylor believes that $1,250,000 would be fair, and said the two sides seem to be stuck. But she said the city and county both agree that the county should stop selling parking stickers to people living outside Collier County.

"It's a limited resource, our beaches," Taylor said. "We want to make sure it's available for our residents."

She said she has seen emails from some people living in Lee County who are concerned, saying they prefer the beaches in Collier.

"Out-of-staters...who are not residents will have to feed the meters to make up some of the difference," Barnett said.

Taylor said she is optimistic that the cty and county can agree on how much the county should pay, so that residents can still park at for free at city beaches with their beach parking stickers.

It's expected that eliminating beach parking passes for non-Collier County residents will add about $500,000 in added revenue for both the city and county.