GALVESTON — The seawall parking program has generated more than $83,000 for the city since it began last summer, according to reports made by the state’s General Land Office.

Through Feb. 28, the city’s Beach User Fee Fund had a balance of $83,430. That money, according to the report, is what the city will use for capital projects.

The city is required to file quarterly financial reports with the General Land Office as a condition of having a beach-user fee. The latest report, submitted to the land office on April 29, reflects the amount of money generated by the parking program between December and February.

During that period, the parking program generated $58,106 in revenue from the sale of parking passes. In the same period, the program totaled $28,795 in operating expenses, including $10,374 for transaction fees and $9,929 for salaries and wages.

In all, the parking program made $29,311 for the quarter.

The new numbers show a decrease in both revenue and expenses compared to the previous quarter.

Between September and November 2013 — the first three months the program was fully in operation — the parking program generated $23,403 in profit, but also cost the city more than $63,000 in expenses. More than a third of those expenses — $22,468 — came in the form of transaction fees, according to the report.

In the second quarter of the fiscal year, the city spent 75 percent less money to operate the parking program than it did in the first quarter. The second quarter also generated 39 percent less in parking pass sales.

City officials have said that they expect the largest earnings from the parking program will come during the summer.  

The seawall parking system launched last July after years of delay. The $1 per hour fee is intended to raise money for improvements on Seawall Boulevard.

The city has begun to plan for the construction of capital improvements on the seawall, though the beach-user fee fund has not been tapped. 

In March, the council approved the construction of two outdoor showers at 28th and 27th streets. City staff members have also been researching options for public toilets that could be constructed on Seawall Boulevard.

Contact reporter John Wayne Ferguson at 409-683-5226 or


In the bank

Reported balance of city Beach User Fee Fund at end of quarter

Quarter End DateGain/LossEnding Balance

*Aug. 31, 2013$30,708.70$30,708.70

Nov. 30, 2013$23,403.18$54,111.88

Feb. 28, 2014$29,310.54$83,430.42

*Parking Program launched July 27, 2013

SOURCE: Texas General Land Office

(7) comments

Ted Wagner

Nice report, John. And good to see we're turning a profit!

Not sure you follow your stories as do other GDN reporters -- but if so...

1) Are parking fines collected included in reported revenue?

2) Expenses have trended downward. Do citations issued/fines collected trend similarly? Interested to know whether declining expenses have a cost of decreased enforcement.

Unfortunately, the City remains tight-lipped on accounting details for a program implemented by public vote.

Looking forward, with 3 qtrs of data in-hand, the City can provide financial outlooks that are much more accurate & reliable, than first envisioned. So, the likely question becomes, who at the City is accountable to answer:

1) What is the comprehensive plan for providing SW amenities (it's been nearly a year and nothing other than piecemeal tidbits on a Loo purchase price, etc)?

2) When will SW parking funds be adequate to fund proposed amenities?

As someone who voted for paid parking, I remain interested to see if the City follows through with commitments made. And perhaps like most reasonable citizens, I am sympathetic that all foreseeable issues may not have been realized upfront.

However, it's the manner the City deals with such challenges that has me concerned. Silence is often the sentinel of "we're spinning a story" to fit the outcome (e.g., added police presence is an amenity; parking to fund only the maintenance of amenities, as 7-figure grants are suddenly available, etc).

A little transparency is precisely what this program needs, to sustain public support...IMO

John Ferguson Staff
John Wayne Ferguson

Hi T,

This report doesn't include fines, just the revenue from the Beach User Fee. Any revenue from enforcement goes into the city's general fund, which isn't as limiting on its spending restrictions.

I wouldn't be surprised if the fines and tickets also decreased. The police department used fewer officers up there during Q2 and paid $14,000 less in wages because of it. But also, demonstrably fewer people park on Seawall between December and February. So what would be the cause of decreased citations? Fewer police or fewer people parking?

Curtiss Brown

Tragically the most frequent person to overestimate the value of the financial department in any government is the elected official. They simply do not understand that the finance department is not there for their management needs but for their financial reporting needs. And their financial reporting does not have any meaning for describing programs as functional or making money or just about anything else.

The fines on parking tickets are City of Galveston dollars. The money paid into the parking system are governed by the rules of the GLO and are kept separate.

I bet you the finance department is not keeping up with any distinction of collected parking fines that are generated from the Seawall parking. Just wouldn't occur to them. They are smart in other ways. Not real useful ways, but other ways.

Steve Fouga

If what you say is true, and I have no reason to doubt you, it seems like the City needs a Metrics Department, whose job Is to gather data, analyze it, and turn it into management information.

George Croix

"The seawall parking program has generated more than $83,000 for the city since it began last summer, according to reports made by the state’s General Land Office.'
This is great news. It means, or seems to mean, that every 6 months or so Galveston will make enough money off seawall parking to make a down payment on ONE of those west coast designer crappers, not including installation and maintenance fees.
At that rate, there's still going to continue to be a lot of crotch holding and pigeon-toed puckered up crab walking for quite some time ahead...[wink]

Gary Miller

You do have full command of our Coastal Texas dialect.
Crotch holding and pigeon-toed puckered up crab walking couldn't be said better in english.

Gary Miller

Net earnings?
When will net earnings be enough to buy and intstal ONE Portland potty and clean it daily?
Fees collected are not net earnongs. Operating costs must be subtracted.

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