DESTIN — On March 25, the city of Destin will be implementing a $5 flat fee for the city’s pay-to-park lots.

The new rate will be in effect at the Destin Community Center, the Destin Library after business hours, and the Marler Street and Zerbe Street parking lots.

Previously, the rates to park in the city lot were $1 for the first hour and $.50 for each additional hour.

The change had been previously discussed at several City Council meetings and was approved during the March 4 meeting.

“This rate should be easier to manage and lead to smaller administrative costs compared to the current parking rate structure,” City Manager Lance Johnson said.

Destin officials began its pay-to-park program in May 2017 at the city’s 146-space lot on Marler Street. The program later was expanded to include the 51-space Zerbe Street lot and the 86-space Destin Community Center lot, the latter which allows center users to park for free with a permit.

“This will improve public parking opportunities in the Harbor District and the revenue will be used to offset future parking needs and improvements,” said Deputy City Manager Webb Warren in a press release.

The city will continue to utilize the Passport Parking smartphone app to collect the parking fees from guests. But for those who don’t want to use an app or go online to manage their parking, will have the option to call a phone number to pay at the Zerbe and Marler Street lots.

In the last budget year, the city collected $39,688 in gross parking fee revenue. The Charlotte, North Carolina-based Passport Inc., which provides the parking app, received about 30 percent, or almost $12,000, of that revenue.

Parking violators are ticketed at a rate of $33 per violation. In the last fiscal year, Destin officials collected $10,836 in parking fines, a portion of which was paid to Passport Inc.

Those who have properly displayed handicap identification, including Disabled Veteran tags, will not be charged for parking.