SARASOTA (WWSB) - Corbin Gregg and his friends visit beaches on the island every weekend and the thought of paying for parking scares him. He said, “I’d probably go to Sarasota more often. Eventually it would bring a lot of money out. I wouldn’t be able to afford it."
But according to a few Manatee Commissioners, paid beach parking would be a good source of revenue for the county. The fees would help with the millions of dollars on island improvements and infrastructure, but Manatee County Commissioner Carol Whitmore is opposed to the idea saying residents and visitors pay enough.
She said, “They are paying for beaches. They’re paying when they buy something with sales tax, if they’re staying out there. If they’re using our business or buying our gas then everybody is paying. I just think sometimes we nickle and dime everyone.”
Also saying that all Anna Maria Island officials are in agreement, "This is their municipality and I represent them as well as the entire county and my citizens that I talk to don’t want to be charged to go to the beaches.
But for visitor Jolie Wyse, paying for parking wouldn’t necessarily be a bad thing. She said, “As long as it is something reasonable, I don’t think it would be a bad idea. the beaches are a great attraction and its bringing a lot of people. There are other revenue streams with people coming to visit through restaurants and local attractions but it will help take care of the beaches.”