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Ocean County Assemblyman Blasts Sweeney Proposal on Beach Tags

Sean T. Kean says the proposed legislation could devastate the towns hardest hit by Superstorm Sandy.

Assemblyman Sean T. Kean, R-Monmouth and Ocean, says that a proposal by Senate President Stephen Sweeney that would force towns to choose between federal aid for beach replenishment or collect beach fees is a short-sighted measure that could devastate beach towns along the Jersey Shore that are in the process of rebuilding in the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy.

“This legislation could financially devastate some hard hit towns,” said Kean. “Why would we ask towns such as Belmar and Manasquan to forgo charging a beach fee because they accepted federal funds to replenish their beach? Right now, these towns have to pay a portion of the huge cost to rebuild the boardwalks and bathrooms. If you couple that with the loss of beach badge revenue, it is going to be a huge cost for the local taxpayer to pick up.”

Kean is also concerned that this legislation could imperil critical lifeguarding services. Most towns use beach badge fees to pay for lifeguards to protect swimmers at the beaches.

“If towns cannot collect beach fees they might have to pass that cost onto their taxpayers, eliminate or reduce the cost of lifeguards, or ask Trenton for more local aid. This is the last thing beach towns need on their plate right now.”

Kean said some towns in his legislative district take in millions of dollars in beach fees. For instance, Avon-by-the Sea collected an estimated $1.5 million from the Kean stated, “While every town should be looking at ways to save money and share services, I don’t believe this measure is a prudent way to bring about shared services, especially not at this time.”

“Many of these communities have been ravaged by Sandy. Our boardwalks are gone, businesses are destroyed and many people lost their homes. Why are we even talking about this now?” asked Kean. In Monmouth and Ocean counties, we are working hard to restore the Shore. I am strongly opposed to this bill and any other that’s going to impede that progress.”

— News release from New Jersey Assembly Republicans

Jim December 23, 2012 at 10:27 PM
Unless this anti beachtag proposal by Doherty and Sweeney is a clever political manoever to gain additional support for the devastated beach communities, they both need to be recalled. I have heard of legislators who are out of touch with their constituencies, but this apparent lack of awareness borders on the criminal. I seriously think they need to be recalled. Jim Arthur OCNJ
Clammer December 24, 2012 at 04:09 AM
With all due respect for Assemblyman Kean, all he has to do, is look South. North Wildwood and Wildwood, NJ have had beach patrols for a century . The beaches are beautiful, clean, safe and the widest in the State of NJ, and no beach tags, they are free. If Wildwood can afford to have free beaches, the superrich beach towns to the North should not be allowed to rip people off, by charging them to access the beach and ocean.
Wyatt December 24, 2012 at 11:36 AM
Wildwood's beaches are not free. The town's taxpayers pay the cost of their upkeep rather than users. Apparently they have made a calculation that beaches free to users will be a sufficient draw to more shoobies so that the money those "extra" ones attacted by a free beach spend in town will leave them with a profit after considering the tax burden of beach upkeep.
Jimbonasium December 25, 2012 at 08:36 PM
Let's see, most of the rest of the world gets by just fine without a beach fee 'tax'--how come we can't here in South Jersey?
Clammer December 26, 2012 at 08:15 PM
You are correct, the city of Wildwood picks up the tab for the lifeguards and clean up. Maybe, the wildwood merchants and the city benefit via more visitors. However, these beach towns to the north rake in billions in tourist dollars as a direct result of taxpayer-funded beach replenishment projects. Then they have the audacity to charge you for a beach tag, and charge you an outragest amount of money to park your car at the city meters.
Clammer December 26, 2012 at 08:25 PM
Also, you can add a $40 beach vehicle fee , if you want to fish the beach in the fall.
Cindy Nevitt December 30, 2012 at 03:16 PM
You have all conveniently forgotten that towns like Wildwood and Atlantic City charge tourist taxes to pay for their "free" beaches. The tourist tax, which is 7 percent in Wildwood, helps pay the cost of the maintenance and operation of these so-called "free" beaches. The fairest solution is to charge for beach access via beach badges so that those who USE the beaches pay for their upkeep.

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