Unruly beachgoers prompted the Town of Hempstead this summer to outsource the collection of parking fees at the popular Malibu Beach Park to the outside vendor who runs the facility, town officials said.
Dover Gourmet Corp., which manages the town-owned complex in Lido Beach, began staffing the toll booths this summer, Hempstead Town Parks Commissioner Daniel Lino said. Hempstead employees previously collected the fees, which run $10 for town residents and, as of this year, $50 for nonresidents. But Lino said the chronic heckling directed at the young summer employees operating the booths led the town to ask Dover to take over the task.
"Parkgoers were harassing the kids who were there for summer jobs and stuff and not paying, giving them a hard time," he said. "Some of the employees were going home crying."
Lino said all of the parking revenue still goes to the town, and town employees check the booths several times a day to ensure that Dover is collecting all of the fees owed to Hempstead. He said revenue "was up significantly last month" over the year prior.
Butch Yamali, the chief executive of Dover Gourmet, said he's staffing the booths with his own, somewhat older employees, who have kept things more orderly at the gate. Yamali said he had previously asked to take over the parking fee collections at the park, which can see thousands of visitors in a weekend, but the town declined.
"I think that they were afraid to give up control," he said.
But this time it was the town that approached Yamali, he said. The two sides agreed to the new arrangement this spring, when the town extended Dover's contract to operate the beachside facility through April 2024, and increased the fee Dover pays the town to $533,610, according to a copy of the extension provided by the town.
The contract extension states that Dover would staff the parking booths "at its sole cost and expense." However, it also states that, "in exchange for this service," Dover would receive a "parking credit" worth $72,800 that "it may apply toward the parking of customers for its Malibu restaurant facility."
Lino did not respond to questions about these provisions of the extension. He also did not respond to a question about how much parking revenue Malibu generates.
The Freeport-based Dover Gourmet has invested millions in Malibu Beach Park since it began operating the aging facility in 2009, Yamali said. The club has hundreds of beach cabanas, a restaurant, pools, tennis courts and other amenities.
The move to outsource parking fee collection came in the same year that the town doubled the fee for nonresidents to park at Hempstead beaches from $25 to $50.
Yamali said the higher fee has not hurt business at Maliblue Oyster Bar, a restaurant within the Malibu beach complex, and that he has not heard complaints from guests. Lino said he has heard "minimal" complaints about the increased fees.
Dover also operates Sands Catering Hall, another Hempstead Town beachfront property in Lido Beach.