City Council voted unanimously to allow free access to the beaches for veterans at its meeting Thursday night. The tags will be regulated the same way beach tags for active military personnel are handled, Chief Financial Officer Frank Donato said.
“That program has been in place for a year, and there will be similar requirements. There will be certain credentials you need to qualify and I recommend giving the tags out at certain locations,” Donato said. “We gave out over 1,000 tags last year and this will be much larger.”
Ocean City requires people to purchase tags before going on the beach. Seasonal beach tags are $25, and $20 if purchased before June 1.
Marlton Mayor Robert DiEnna, who also has a residence in Ocean City, made the trip from Burlington County to thank council for the ordinance Thursday night.
"Thank you for recognizing veterans in this manner," DiEnna said. "I was in the marine corps from 1965-68 and when we came back, we didn't get the greatest reception. This is greatly appreciated."
The ordinance came up after a state statute updated on Jan. 17 of this year allowed for municipalities to change their fee structure so that veterans aren’t charged access to the beach.
The ordinance reads as follows:
No fees shall be charged to or collected from persons who have served in any of the Armed Forces of the United States and who were discharged or released therefrom under conditions other than dishonorable and who have either served at least 90 days in active duty or have been discharged or released from active duty by reason of a service-incurred injury or disability.