PORT ARANSAS, Texas — A parking permit is required at most gulf beaches for visitors.
And with thousands of visitors making their way to the coast each year, where does the money from the permit fees go?
It costs $12 to buy a beach parking permit.
A very small portion of that money goes back to the vendor or business you bought it from.
But the rest of it goes directly back into maintaining our beaches.
It's maintenance like keeping our beaches and bathrooms clean and free of trash. It helps to empty trash cans, keeping beach roads up to par and paying for lifeguards.
That’s important to keep in mind if you're a beach-goer.
“Those beach parking permits are what the city uses to maintain the beach,” Port Aransas Police Chief Scott Burroughs said. “And that’s why our beaches are in such good shape."
But not everyone remembers to buy a permit.
“I usually get one,” one person says. “I didn't think if I parked on the beach, that'd be any problem.”
Not having that $12 permit to park on the beach can easily turn into a $75 citation.
In fact, Burroughs says about four years ago, the city asked the department to step up enforcement on their beaches.
The city even provided overtime for officers to patrol more.
And since then, the city has seen a large increase in the number of citations.
"We want to enforce the laws based on the quality of life for our citizens and we don't ever want to be looked at as a revenue generator for the city,” Burroughs said.
If you are issued a $75 citation by Port Aransas, you have 10 days to pay it at their municipal court.
Burroughs also says if you get your beach parking permit within five days of getting issued that citation, that $75 violation will drop to $50.
And there’s some good news,
Beach permits purchased at Corpus Christi or county beaches like J.P. Luby or Bob Hall Pier can also be used in Port Aransas.
Permits are only good from January to December.