Beach passes for non-residents to be sold at kiosks
KENNEBUNK — Instead of acquiring beach passes at town hall or H.B. Provisions this summer, non-residents will have the option of buying passes at one of three on-site kiosks.
At the April 22 meeting the Board of Selectmen awarded the bid for three machines to Cale America, whose various kiosks are used worldwide.
“We had set aside some money in last year’s budget and some money in this year’s budget to put in a couple of kiosk beach parking dispensers down at the beach area hopefully to make it a little bit easier for our visiting tourists to pick up those different parking stickers either by day, or week or month,” said Town Manager Barry Tibbetts.
Presently, a daily beach pass for a non-resident is $15; a week pass is $50; a season pass is $100.
The kiosks will be all-weather machines and function independently, Tibbetts said.
“These things are run off their own internal cell phone and satellite, so that someone can come up and use a credit card,” Tibbetts said.
The price for three machines is approximately $24,000. Cale America kiosks are also used in Portland, Ogunquit and Wells, to name a few.
“They would be insured (for vandalism) just like any of our equipment. They’re fairly standard machines so the parts and repair should be fairly easy to happen,” Tibbetts said.
The hope is that the machines would help increase beach pass sales. In recent years, beach parking passes have been sold at town hall, H.B. Provisions in Lower Village and a handful of local campgrounds and hotels.
Kennebunk resident Ed Karytko asked Tibbetts, “Is this geared to in some way to make more money for the town or is it just the convenience for people coming into the area?”
“First, yes it is a convenience ... the second part of it is, I think we will see some increase in our total beach passes. We have roughly about 110,000 to 115,000 a year in beach passes. In the long term I think we’re going to reduce some staff time in the field so our officers (who are writing the tickets) can do a little bit more work and community policing in that area as opposed to just writing tickets all day.”
Selectman Deborah Beal said, “I haven’t been to other beaches so I have not seen these machines. My concern is the aesthetics of it, putting them at the beach.”
The town does have an option of enclosing the kiosk in a more aesthetically appealing case or adding color to its façade.
“They’ll look better than the port-o-potties,” said Selectman David Spofford.
Kennebunk resident Lionel Menard urged the board to start the process with two kiosks instead of three.
“You know the taxpayer is paying for the convenience of the tourist, OK, I can understand that argument up to a point,” Menard said, “but I’d really like you to consider the additional costs with the service contracts, that hasn’t been mentioned yet, the additional signage that also hasn’t been mentioned.”
“I think the beach pass, if you buy it there at the site, it should be more expensive. I think the daily rate should increase to $20,” Menard said. “Of course if you do that, your parking first offense should increase also.”
It was unclear whether beach passes would still be sold at H.B. Provisions. Parking at the beach will still remain first come first serve.
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