BELLEAIR SHORE — A significant hike in fines for parking violations in this tiny, upscale residential beachfront community was agreed to by the town commission at its June 18 meeting. An ordinance will be prepared that raises the fines for most offenses from $30 to $45.
The county charges $30 for processing tickets issued by the Sheriff’s Office, so the town gets no income from violations at the current fine level, Mayor Robert Schmidt said. The proposed $45 fine gives the town $15 in revenue per violation.
The violations listed in the proposed ordinance that will cost $45 include parking in a no parking zone, parking in vacant lots, improper parking in driveways and yards of private residences, and leaving vehicles unattended.
The biggest fine by far, for unauthorized parking in properly designated restricted/handicapped spaces, including the beach access areas, remains unchanged at $250.
A statement in the proposed ordinance that said the fine would be doubled on any traffic ticket that is not paid within 15 days from the date of issue was deleted after Town Attorney Regina Kardash said it was unenforceable.
The ordinance will be prepared for first reading in August, with second reading the following month. The commission is not meeting in July.
Kayak, paddleboard ban may end
Kayaks and paddleboards may be allowed on the beach in Belleair Shore for the first time.
Town Clerk Barb Colucci pointed out that the town code, adopted in 1984, currently prohibits paddleboards and kayaks while allowing inflatables, which Colucci said are more dangerous to sea animals. Colucci also said at least two commissioners have family members who use paddleboards on the Gulf.
Commissioner Steve Blume admitted he has taken his paddleboard to the beach. He said, “If we have something on the prohibited list that we don’t object to, why have it on the list?”
The issue of permitted and prohibited watercraft will be discussed at a future commission meeting. Kardash said she will collect further information on the subject.
Town revenue to jump
A worksheet on the town’s budget for the upcoming fiscal year presented by the town clerk shows total revenue increasing by about $10,000, from $116,000 to $126,000. That is due mostly to an expected 7 percent rise in property values, and assumes the millage rate remains unchanged at 0.6594.
Expenses will also increase, due mostly to higher personnel and legal costs. The budget will be on the agenda in August and September.