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Long Branch Council Opposes Legislation That Would Eliminate Beach Badge Fees

A proposed bill would require municipalities that accept state or federal aid to rebuild storm-damaged beaches to provide beach access free of charge

The Long Branch Council unanimously voted to oppose a Senate bill that would eliminate beach badge fees.

Senate Bill 2368 was introduced by Sen. Michael J. Doherty (R-23) and Senate President Stephen M. Sweeney (D-3) and would require municipalities that accept state or federal aid to rebuild storm-damaged beaches to provide beach access and beach restroom facilities to the public free of charge.

“It is likely that state and federal taxpayers will provide hundreds of millions of dollars to repair and replenish New Jersey beaches that were washed away during Hurricane Sandy,” Doherty said in a news release. “Considering the massive public resources that will be directed at rebuilding many New Jersey beaches, it only seems fair to ensure that everyone have the opportunity to enjoy free access to the beaches they will support and help rebuild with their tax dollars.”

The legislation would apply to towns that accept grants or aid from state or federal governments after Nov. 2, 2012 for the purpose of replenishing storm-damaged beaches.

If the legislation passes, municipalities that accept aid for rebuilding beaches would not be allowed to adopt or enforce ordinances requiring the collection of fees for beach badges.

Those municipalities would also be required to provide free public restroom facilities to beachgoers between Memorial Day and Labor Day weekends.

“Where taxpayers are paying for beach restoration, they shouldn’t be taxed a second time just to walk on the sand,” said Sweeney in the news release. “As New Jerseyans, we are all in the recovery and rebuilding process together. That means we should all be able to enjoy the reopening of our state’s greatest natural resource together, too.”

The resolution passed by the Long Branch Council earlier this month states that the bill, "fails to recognize the operational costs associated with operating a beach and which are incurred by a shore municipality."

"Under the legislation proposed in S2368 the current method of sharing the operational cost between users (people who purchase beach badges) and local taxpayers would be shifted to become the sole responsibility and burden of the local property taxpayer," the resolution states. "Such a shift from a cost-sharing model to a single payer would cause an immediate and dramatic rise in local property tax rates."

What do you think about this legislation? Cast your vote in the poll and tell us more in the comments section of this story.

joe February 26, 2013 at 04:28 PM
Excellent bill. It's about time. Whenever beaches have been replenished in the past using federal money, which is from the taxpayer, it's stands to reason that we as taxpayers should then have free access to the beaches. We should not have to pay twice to access the beach.
Sal February 26, 2013 at 04:57 PM
The towns should be allowed to charge only a "small fee" to cover cleanup costs and maintenance costs for emptying trash barrels and cleaning toilets. The fee should be limited by State law to $1.00 per person per day charged to both local residents and out-of-town visitors alike.
Sal February 26, 2013 at 04:59 PM
Many towns deny access to the beaches by simply making all of the streets anywhere near the beaches No Parking zones. When they want and demand help from out of towners ___they should be Required to provide beach access and parking to out of towners also.
joe February 26, 2013 at 07:01 PM
Sal, I totally agree with you. Hope this bill passes.
Dominick Palermo February 26, 2013 at 08:27 PM
Whos gonna pay lifeguards ?????????????????? --If you live in these towns -- are going to be ok with a tax hike ?????????????
joe February 26, 2013 at 08:39 PM
The towns can pay the lifeguards from the money the Federal gov. is giving them.
katie February 27, 2013 at 01:08 PM
How about not charging "local residents" . I understand that the beaches need to be maintained and lifeguards need to be paid. Maybe Long Branch should get a hold on all the money that's wasted on other things of which there are many I am sure!
Vinnie February 27, 2013 at 02:44 PM
Why are lifeguards in this mix. Why give the Trenton Politicians something to hold onto to and mix it their way. Wasn't it Sweeney that Douche who made the most inappropriate statement about how Our Governor wished for Super Storm Sandy.... Why don't they worry about Camden and other Great Havens and leave the goings on down the shore to us. Butt out Trenton
Steve McLeod March 09, 2013 at 02:30 PM
I live in Long Branch right down the street from Seven Presidents County Park. As a local resident I am taxed three times just to walk on the sand. The county imposes a county park tax levied against local residences. In my case that dollar amount is over $1,100.00 per year. Then I have to pay again by purchasing a beach tag. Then I obviously pay a city tax the goes to maintaining the surrounding area in the way of municipal clean up, police, fire, first etc. Talk about the government overreach by burdening local residences. Local tax payers should not have to pay a tax twice or three times. If you have to pay a county tax then you should be exempt from paying again by way of beach tags.

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