Free Parking Permits Approved for Provincetown Board Members

PROVINCETOWN – Volunteering on a town board in Provincetown will earn residents free summer parking.

The Select Board voted unanimously last week to provide a free in-season parking permit to board members.

“Moving forward all board member permits would be free and they would have access to all town lots and parking spaces,” said David Gardner, the assistant town manager, when presenting recommendations to the Select Board.

The permit would include the use of the municipal lot at MacMillan Pier, also known as MPL.

Board members previously paid $5 for a $55 resident permit, which included the use of the municipal lot.

The fee for a resident parking permit will continue to be $55, but will increase to $150 for access to the MPL.

The free permit is seen as a way to encourage volunteering and participation in town affairs.

The previous $50 discount was believed at the time to be the maximum allowable benefit under state ethics laws regarding town employees or special employees receiving gifts.

“We checked with town counsel and got an interpretation that they felt as though it did not classify as a gift,” Gardner said.

“Therefore, the town was free to create a fee structure that was more favorable, as it relates to board member permits, than a $50 discount.”

In 2019, the town sold 124 board member permits. The town currently has about 210 residents serving on town boards.

“Many of the volunteers are over 64 and already qualify for a free permit as a senior, or don’t feel the need to get a parking permit,” Gardner said.

Select Board member Louise Venden said parking is a valuable asset during the summer season.

“I want to encourage people to serve on boards. I think it’s great and I think they should have free permits,” Venden said. “But we have to understand there is a price that’s being paid.”

Select Board member Lise King said no being able to park in the municipal lot would be hard for board members trying to get to meetings during the busy summer season.

“As a board member, when you are trying to rush in and participate and be of service and volunteer this is a great solution,” King said.

Town board members will need to attend 75 percent of board meetings to qualify for the permit, along with previous requirements of completing ethics training and have no unpaid taxes or fees.

Parking stickers are required in Provincetown from May through October.

About Brian Merchant

Brian Merchant grew up in Central Massachusetts and now lives in South Dennis on the Cape. He has been part of the news team in the NewsCenter since the spring of 2014. He studied radio broadcasting at the University of Tennessee.
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