North Avenue Beach

A cyclist rides by as the rising sun breaking though the clouds in the early morning hours Wednesday, Sept. 25, 2013 at North Avenue Beach in Chicago. (Anthony Souffle/Chicago Tribune) (November 26, 2013)

Rates for parking at North Avenue Beach, Belmont Harbor and other park district lots may go up.

The change in parking fees is part of the Chicago Park District's $425.6 million budget proposed for 2014.

While the district expects to save money due to health care changes and locked-in gas rates, district officials are looking to increase certain fees and property taxes to balance the budget and pay for new and expanded programs and additional staff.

While harbor and program fees would remain the same, parking fees would increase slightly. Revenue from parking fees is budgeted to go up 32 percent for a total of $4.4 million.

The rates at the pay-and-display lots such as those near Montrose and Rainbow beaches would go up a quarter to $1.25 per hour at the peak period of 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. and to 50 cents per hour during the off-peak times from 9 p.m. to 9 a.m.

Parking in the lot at North Avenue Beach could increase by as much as $6, according to a proposed rate chart provided by the park district. For example, parking at the lot for one hour or less from mid-May to mid-October would increase by $2 to $14. Parking for over four hours until the lot closes would cost $6 more for a total of $28.

Fees to park at the Belmont Harbor north lot, Burnham Harbor, Lincoln Park Conservatory and boat launch locations would be raised by $1. The rates at the Diversey Harbor driving range lot would change slightly to $3 for one hour or less, $6 for four hours or less, $12 for four to 24 hours.

The park district is considering more areas where new pay boxes can be installed, additional enforcement efforts for parking violations and more parking spots at North Avenue Beach and the Diversey driving range and tennis courts areas.

Among the biggest revenue sources in the budget which was released to the public on Friday are property taxes, Soldier Field events such as the March 1st Hawks vs. Penguins Coors Light NHL Stadium Series, harbor fees, permits, and golf and parking fees.

The $3.6 million property tax increase would amount to approximately $2.71 per year for the average homeowner, according to the park district. The district last asked property owners to pay more in 2005.

"The decision to increase property taxes was a difficult one, but it is necessary to maintain the financial health and stability of our city's parks," General Superintendent and CEO Michael Kelly said in a news release.

A public hearing on the budget is set for 4 p.m. on Dec. 4.

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