LONG BRANCH: The decision to add parking meters throughout the oceanfront has been a moneymaker for the city this summer.
Long Branch Chief Financial Officer Ron Mehlhorn said on July 21 that the meters have pulled in just over $200,000 since they were activated on June 9.
"I think our projections were about $500,000 per summer when we first talked about them," Mehlhorn said.
He said he expects revenue to be at or near that amount by the time the meters are deactivated on Sept. 30.
Mehlhorn said that the $200,000 does not include court revenue that will come in from fines associated with not paying the meters or staying in the spaces for too long.
He said the meters should pay for themselves in a short amount of time.
"At most, we're looking at a 2-year payback," Mehlhorn said.
The city purchased the meters in 2012 after the council passed an $855,000 bond ordinance but the decision was made not to use them the last two years. Those funds included purchasing the meters themselves and the materials needed to install them.
Parking costs $1 per hour on Monday-Thursday and $2 per hour on Friday-Sunday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Motorists can pay using cash, a credit card or a mobile app. The meters are similar to those in Asbury Park where people park in a space and input the 4-digit number of their space when they go to pay at a parking meter.
All of the spaces in Pier Village will have a 2-hour parking time limit from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and a 4-hour time limit from 5 p.m. to midnight.
Mehlhorn said the city still has more parking meters in storage in case the decision to expand the program is made in the future.
He said the oceanfront was the logical place to start the program but that the council could decide to add more paid parking spaces west of Ocean Avenue and Ocean Boulevard.
The council will reexamine the parking meter situation in the offseason to see if any changes will be made.