Draconian Meter Maids on Galt Ocean Mile Exploit the Dive Bar Staff
Dive Bar owners Gary Marcotte and Cody Cole have racked up almost $2,500 in parking fines at the meters outside their business in the last year and a half (and that's not including the staff). At $32 a ticket, it hasn't been easy. They blame vindictive parking enforcement officials.
Jess Swanson Parking enforcement on Galt Ocean Mile.
The parking meters outside the bar on Galt Ocean Mile are finicky. They only accept coins, and with a three-hour limit, they are designed to keep beach-goers from taking up parking spaces designated for patrons. On the other hand, they leave small business owners like Marcotte and Cole and their staff, who work shifts longer than three hours, drowning in fines.
Marcotte has tried to secure parking permits, but whenever he calls the city, none are available in his area, he contends. And he claims, other businesses owners in the area suspiciously seem to have handicapped permits that allow them to park at the meters for free.
"Go walk outside and see for yourself," Marcotte says, rolling his eyes. "Everyone parked on the street [at a meter] has a handicapped decal."
Clean Plate Charlie called the Fort Lauderdale Parking Enforcement to inquire about the situation. A woman who would give her name only as "Kim" said only one permit is available for the month of September in Galt Ocean area. The Dive Bar has a staff of 14.
None of them qualify for a handicapped decal, Marcotte adds.
Even if The Dive Bar owner bought the one permit for September (which costs $37.10 a month), it would expire by October, and he would have to go through the process again. According to Parking Enforcement, there is usually a wait list and permits cannot be guaranteed from one month to the next.
Marcotte and Cole are perturbed by the unrelenting ticket fines, but they are even more concerned about the financial burden these ticket fines place on their staff. Waiters, bartenders and cooks, after all, are usually too busy to run out in the middle of their shifts to pay the meters. (Patrons are less of a concern. They usually don't stay more than three hours.)