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Ditching Beach Badges for Federal Aid – Fair Trade for Jersey Shore?

Dale Gerhard / The Press of Atlantic City

Legislation has been introduced in New Jersey to have any town that accepts state or federal aid for rebuilding its beaches to provide beach and restroom access for free.

Democrats and Republicans have come together on this idea that will have beach towns who accept aid for rebuilding their beaches, not be able to enforce a beach badge charge for someone to gain access onto the sands.

The Press of Atlantic City also has revealed that this legislation would make beach restroom be available for free for those coming to their beach town.

Mayors along the Jersey Shore seem to be mixed on this situation, with reaction ranging from questionable to panic.

Beach badges have raised amounts in the Millions for many beach areas in South Jersey – Ocean City raised around $4 Million is beach badge fees this past year.  That money does pay for a great deal of services for the beach.

The Press of A.C. shows both sides of this argument – Cape May Mayor Ed Mahaney stated “Without beach-tag revenue, the burden on taxpayers would be too much to bear.  The burden must be spread among all the users of the beach services.  That bill, if passed, would be as devastating economically to the South Jersey beaches.”

On the other side, state Senate President Stephen Sweeney feels “Shore towns could handle ending beach fees if they share services and run government a little more efficiently.  A lot of small beach communities have a police chief, an administrator, a public works director. … At some point, they’ve got to stop finding more fees.”

Should the beaches be free?  Feel Free to sound off!


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