Several southern New Jersey beach towns considering fees due to rising costs

Some Cape May County beach towns are considering selling beach badges because of the rising costs of beach maintenance and the pandemic.

News 12 Staff

Mar 3, 2021, 11:58 AM

Updated 1,209 days ago

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Some Cape May County beach towns are considering selling beach badges because of the rising costs of beach maintenance and the pandemic.
“In Wildwood, our beaches continue to get larger, unlike most of the other towns in the north and south,” says Wildwood Mayor Pete Byron.
Byron says that the Wildwoods – made up of his town, North Wildwood and Wildwood Crest - are discussing implementing beach fees because of rising costs.
“Our boardwalk is in dire need of a refurbishment as well, so we’re looking for ways to generate new income and that’s kind of how it started,” Byron says.
The fees wouldn’t be implemented until at least the summer of 2022. But not all residents are on board with the idea.
“I don’t like beach fees, because it’s just another form of tax and when I lived in Ocean City, they were starting it up there and they weren’t well-accepted,” says North Wildwood resident Bud Hughes.
The Wildwoods are not the only beaches in Cape May County that are considering adding beach fees. Strathmere – part of Upper Township – may also start charging for access to its beach.
"I personally am not exactly in favor of the idea of beach tags, but that's me in general,” says Upper Township Mayor Rich Palombo. “But we have experienced some extensive costs that are involved with running the beach. Our lifeguards are a $350,000 budget item. We had beach replenishment, we have to make sure that we have funds built up for that."
Palombo says that the town is looking at introducing an ordinance on Monday. The fees could start this summer if the ordinance is approved.
The mayor of Wildwood says that he is not worried about the fees hurting tourism.
"I don't think they're going to travel up to 75 miles and pay $15 in tolls and $25 in gas just to save a few dollar beach fee. I think it's more the boardwalk that is the bigger draw, quite frankly, than the beach," the mayor says.
Other beaches in towns like Ocean City, Sea Isle, Avalon and Stone Harbor all charge fees to use their beaches. The Atlantic City beach is free.


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