After the town of Stone Harbor made news when they issued 564 Parking Tickets in the month of May, City Council Members are asking questions about why that number went up for the month of June.

At the July 3rd Stone Harbor City Council meeting, the topic of Parking Tickets was again discussed as they announced that 915 Parking Tickets were issued for the month of June, which is a 62 percent increase from the infamous number of tickets issued in the month of May. At last month's City Council Meeting, Stone Harbor Police Chief Thomas Schutta explained that the initial increase in parking tickets issued from last summer to this year was because of the change from parking meters and kiosks to using the ParkMobile App. The reason for the large number of parking tickets was that people were not used to the Virtual system for parking in the town.

But at the most recent Stone Harbor City Council Meeting, Councilmember Reese Moore brought up the subject of the parking tickets to get more information about why this issue has not been fixed or gotten better. Another drastic increase in Parking Tickets has become a Public Relations issue for the town that depends on Summer Tourism and cannot afford to discourage any potential visitors from coming to the small Jersey Shore community.

City Administrator Manny Parada explained at the City Council Meeting that one of the major reasons that Stone Harbor made this change was because visitors last summer complained about having multiple apps for parking in different towns. Since neighboring communities such as Sea Isle City, Ocean City, and Wildwood all use ParkMobile, the goal according to Parada was to make their parking setup the same so there is less confusion or issues.

Stone Harbor Mayor Judith Davies-Dunhour asked Parada, who was the city official who oversaw the implementation of the change over from parking meters and kiosks to the virtual parking system with the ParkMobile App, if neighboring towns such as Sea Isle City had dealt with similar spikes in Parking Tickets being issued.

Based on Parada's answer and the City Council's questions, it is apparent that the people who work in the Stone Harbor government are not well enough informed about how other Cape May County towns made the transition from Parking Meters and/or Kiosks to Virtual Parking System with the ParkMobile App.  Before the July 3rd City Council Meeting, most people in attendance had no knowledge of how the app could be customized and programming changes could be made to minimize penalties to Parking Violators along with simplifying the process for Stone Harbor to collect.

Towns like Sea Isle City did not just one day remove all the Parking Meters and tell people to use the app; Instead, they gave people the option to pay for the Kiosk/Meter or use the ParkMobile App, and over time, they made the full transition to the app-based system.  Ironically enough, the Stone Harbor City Council verbalized a passive-aggressive attitude towards "a town north of us" for charging more for parking yet those towns "north" of Stone Harbor (Sea Isle City and Ocean City) who also utilize the ParkMobile App for their Virtual Parking Meters have not had a spike in Parking Tickets that Stone Harbor is dealing with this Summer.

Now Stone Harbor is scrambling for answers for how to stem this Parking Tickets issue and hopes it doesn't hurt the town's economy this summer.  I can only imagine how business owners in town feel about this situation and their concerns about how this spike in Parking Tickets will impact the rest of their summer.

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