In response to the story ("Much at stake in seawall parking vote, officials say," The Daily News, April 21): I have no intention of voting to continue seawall parking.

Firstly, it seems ridiculous to vote on something that doesn't already have approval from the state.

I cannot believe it can cost as much money as stated to maintain the few amenities that are there. And the city says that they don't even know yet what they will do with the additional revenue.

Then there's the $500,000-plus on personnel. I'm having trouble understanding that one. Don't believe them when they say they haven't received much opposition to continue. They're worried. That's why they're running all over town boasting about it to every neighborhood association meeting and civic gathering.

They're just promoting their own agenda, again, and they're not really sure what that agenda is.

Debbie Gremillion

Galveston

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(32) comments

Ron Woody

Not yet a full time resident of Galveston I will not have the opportunity to vote in Galveston on Proposition A.

There are many issues to consider how to vote on the issue the one continuous comment I do not understand is questioning the $500K for what I see listed in some places as personnel and others as maintenance.

I am not certain that the $500K includes benefits, etc. for personnel, nor have I dived into examining the Galveston City Budget attempting to identify where any excess or fat exists. (I leave those matters to my research assistant, Mr. Ponce. Just kidding, Carlos!)

Just doing rough calculations $500K with benefits and other personnel expenses is approximately 10 Full Time Equivalents (FTEs) on an annual basis. Now efficiencies might be improved and the hope is that if time allows these employees are working on additional tasks.

The idea that 10 FTEs to clean and maintain the seawall and adjacent beach facilities on a 365 days per year basis does not seem excessive or wasteful.

This is just a rough estimate, with minimal information of all that is involved. Again, there may be many reasons not to vote for Proposition A, I just do not believe the budget estimate for maintenance/personnel would appear to be one of them.

Christopher Webber

City agreed to these terms
• 75% of all funds collected for improvements
• 15% for maintenance of those improvements
The reality: little or no $ were spent on improvements. It was those stipulations that convinced citizens to forego their objections of paying to park on the seawall. It was that promise from the city - that this was not just another tax on citizens - that provided sufficient votes for the ordinance to pass last time. Just as soon as the dollars started rolling in, those promises were forgotten and the money was spent... just like all the other tax money... and not on the promised improvements.

Lisa Blair

Voters like Debbie are the reason we can’t have nice things.

Miceal O'Laochdha

Correction: the total failure of the City / PB to obtain and install the promised amenities on the Seawall is reason we can't have nice things. The figures they allege for even maintenance of amenities funded by the US Government are ludicrous. Voters like Debbie will not be contributing to Galveston's purchase of the Brooklyn Bridge, either.

Connie Patterson

Visitors to the Beach/ Seawall enjoy clean beaches, ample trash collection bins, bathrooms, showers and picnic areas on the Seawall. Every inch of the wall cost money to maintain. Just to get water to the Seawall wall was a huge undertaking and a massive expense. You can’t just pound through a 16’ thick wall designed to protect the coast from hurricanes. Army Corps of Engineers had to oversee every step of bringing water to the Seawall to ensure and protect the integrity of the wall.
During peak times like the 4th of July our population swells from 60k to 500k and everyone is “going to the beach” and an enormous mess is left to clean up. Survey done revealed that less than 1/3 of visitors to the Seawall/Beach spend money here...my guess is they’re loading up at Bucees so very little tax revenue from their visit. The 60k City residents can not afford to foot the bill to maintain,clean and make improvements. Without this continued revenue, what we all enjoy will come to a screeching halt. So in exchange for a few bucks we have a beautiful place to visit that’s clean and accommodating ! Where else can you take a family for the day, have a great time and cost so little? IM VOTING YES...and if you enjoy our clean beaches you aught to consider the consequences of not supporting this effort...
Connie

Lisa Blair

Absolutely right on, Connie. Galveston citizens now own these amenities and we’ll either pay for their maintenance from our already stretched thin general fund, or we can let the 7 million tourists pay every time they park. It should be a “no-brainer”.

Priscilla Files

Voted YES! There are plenty of places to park for free on TX Beaches. There are access points on Galveston Island that are free. Somebody please show me a nice, well-maintained Seawall type beach that has parking as cheap as ours. We went to Miami Beach and the Broadwalk in Ft. Lauderdale over Christmas and paid through the you know what for parking. Both beaches and walkways were gorgeous and amazing. No reason besides will that Galveston can’t be the same.

Miceal O'Laochdha

Wow, Miami and Ft. Lauderdale soak the New York and European tourists so we should catch a ride on the same gravy train. Comparing Miami and Ft. Lauderdale beaches to Galveston, especially in the dead of winter, is like comparing a Ford to a Lamborghini.

Don Schlessinger

"There are plenty of places to park for free on TX Beaches." Just not on Galveston Island. At least not for long.

Debbie Gremillion

Who maintained, cleaned and made improvements/repairs to the Seawall for the 100 years BEFORE paid parking was there?? Did your taxes go down as a result of the City not having to burden this cost?? No.

Lisa Blair

You mean those nice porta potties? No thanks.

Rusty Schroeder

3 Port a Loo's. Let's throw a celebration. Have you ever used or looked inside one Lisa?

Miceal O'Laochdha

A Federal grant paid for the work you describe to get water to the toilets. Hotel Occupancy Taxes (HOT) pay to accomplished the trash and cleanup work you describe. What do the parking fees pay for? People to operate the parking fee program. Self-perpetuating machine for no purpose. I'M VOTING NO...and if you enjoy our clean beaches you ought to consider what a great job taxpayers are already doing to pay for this effort.

Steve Fouga

My impression is that "no" voters are casting their ballots out of a sense that the program is being operated inefficiently, and/or with a lack of transparency. I can understand the frustration, but I'll point out that many government projects are run the same way. Maybe most of them. That doesn't mean they produce no benefit.

"No" voters are concerned that the program is paying only for its own perpetuation. While I can't prove that you're wrong, I doubt you can prove yourself right, either. And I doubt that you ARE right. I doubt that literally NO benefit has come from the program. Maybe not full value, but none? Long-term projects like this one often take a long time to get rolling. It should be given more of a chance. My feeling is that it's no skin off my nose to keep it going.

"No" voters are concerned about the expense to residents and tourists alike, complaining that nobody should have to pay to visit the beach. This is hogwash. Triple the current fee would be a bargain for a day at the beach. And people would pay it! Giving up this source of income, even if it's not being used in a manner satisfactory to every voter, is cutting off our nose to spite our face.

My only complaint concerns enforcement. I'd like to see more tickets issued, more boots applied, more vehicles towed, and more fines pursued.

My vote will be YES.

Rusty Schroeder

These arguments are typical to Galveston's BOI mentality. There are beach access points mentioned, great amenities on the seawall paid for by parking, and let the 7 million tourist pay for a seawall that protects the island from storm surge. There is even mention of Ft. Lauderdale and Miami as comparisons, Galveston needs to try and compare itself to Corpus for starters. I think parking rates should be raised for daily parking but not yearly passes, you are just hurting your citizens by doing that. Next, come clean on the costs associated with what it actually costs to maintain the amenities that have been made since parking was implemented. If it really is over $500K I would like to suggest contracting those services and I would like to be on the bidding list. Lastly, the 7 million tourists paying for the future improvements that the increase will bring. Those 7 million, more than half come from the 4th largest city 50 miles north of the causeway. They bring their own food and drinks, leave their trash, and a lot of them use that ticket to litter 61st or Broadway on their way back home. Whenever I hear someone throw out tourists numbers for Galveston I laugh, you might want to take a count of those same people going back over the causeway the same day. Heck, Buc-ee's on 45 might as well be a tourist attraction. Because I would bet that 1 store, 16 miles from Galveston, sell's more gas and more convenience items than any store in Galveston on said tourists days. I bet they are close when it comes to prepared food also, if Galveston were smart they would set up a tourist center inside or next to it. Maybe use some of those parking fees, then again it might add to more litter when they go back to Houston.

Steve Fouga

[thumbup][cool]

Rusty Schroeder

[smile]

Bailey Jones

[thumbup][thumbup][thumbup] You know why everyone stops at Buckees? Plenty of gas pumps, decent food, and great restrooms. In other words - amenities. If you want people to spend their money, give them something to spend it on.

Michael Gaertner

I will be voting YES! If the visitors do not pay for parking, most of them will enjoy our beaches and leave only their litter behind. Anyone who frequents the beach can buy a very reasonably priced annual pass. Otherwise, take some of the burden off the local taxpayers and let's collect something from the visitors. In Ft. Lauderdale I saw beach parking for $30 - $35 a day. Parking prices here are resaonable compared to that.

Rusty Schroeder

LOL, " Leave Your Litter Behind", Galveston's next tourism campaign slogan. good ness.

Don Schlessinger

[thumbup]

Gary Miller

If tourists are so bad, spending before instead of there, leaving trash, messing up traffic why do you want to maintain an attractive nuecence, the beach, for their pleasure? $10 and hour or $100 a day parking fee might drive a few of them away. Yes the parking fee is used to pay for the parking fee bureaucracy exactly like the licence plate bureaucracy. Raise the fee for employee raises?

Edward Salazar

Where does the money from fines go? Who gets to use it?

Ron Shelby

Honestly, I question the “wisdom” of continuously expanding the SeaWall sand placement projects farther west. Instead of being able to afford the beaches we have, we continue to create more with future obligation for upkeep requiring more money.

Paula Flinn

Exactly! Seawall improvements also! Next we will have palm fronds blowing across the Blvd. slamming into businesses, getting caught under cars, impeding traffic, etc. There should be no trees on the South side of the Seawall in containers.
Hard to ride bikes on the Seawall without running into “improvements.”

Charlotte O'rourke

I too was disappointed in the seawall paid parking program and the failure to keep campaign promises.

But in the end, I voted FOR paid parking because of the city’s continued improvement in appearance especially the appearance of the seawall.

I’ve been impressed with the city’s desire for fiscal accountability and auditing of city owned entities (Park Board, Port, and city) and the oversight of its programs.

This internal auditing and accountability practice should be routine and not seen as a negative.

I voted positively to keep the momentum moving forward while starting to lobby our city to place paid parking programs on the internal city auditors list to evaluate internal controls and recommend areas of improvement.

Regardless of how you decide to vote ..... make time to vote!

Michelle Aycoth

Why not collect fees for the use of Galveston a step further.
Charge $50 a day for entry of the City at the Causeway and ferry.
$100 per month pass for people who drive to the island to work.
Andrew Aycoth

Steve Fouga

They'd sneak in at SLP. [cool]

Michelle Aycoth

Leave it open for our friends to the south.
Andrew A.

Leigh Cowart

Hopefully, if this fails, it will go back to the drawing board for the November election. I will vote to increase parking fees but not for raising annual passes.

Michael Moriarty

But you can't on this ballot. It's all or nothing.

Christopher Webber

Thank you Debbie G for sharing your opinion. Voting against this ordinance does not mean you do not want tourists to pay to park. Voting against this ordinance means this ordinance does not recognize that citizens already pay s hefty amount to live here by the gulf. Let the tourists pay... vote no

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