NJ Beach Badge Fees Hold Steady [AUDIO]
After Sandy there were dire predictions that Jersey shore communities would be forced to dramatically increase fees for beach badges to help pay for cleanup and restoration work. But it turns out the vast majority of shore towns are holding beach badge costs steady this summer.
A beach badge on the weekend in Asbury Park is $6, Ocean City is $5 and Toms River is charging $8.
"In our town the beach fees will remain the same. It's $7 for an adult, and for kids 15 and under, it's free. A family of four can come to the Belmar beach for an entire day for $14," said Belmar Mayor Matt Doherty.
Initially, Doherty thought beach badge fees would have to be increased, but they were able to keep prices flat due to a great turnout from the public in 2013.
Doherty stressed making the beach affordable will help attract visitors, which is very important for local merchants. "All the small businesses in Belmar are owned by middle class families, and when people come and support them it supports their families that live here as well."
People can also get discounted beach fees by using NJ Transit to travel to Belmar.
"It makes a lot more sense. It cuts down on the cars on the road and it's a partnership we've had with them for a few years now. It works really, really well," Doherty said.
As for the beachfront area, Doherty said it's in terrific shape.
"It looks better than before Sandy. We have a brand new 1.3 mile boardwalk, and we have a tremendous new beach because of the beach replenishment from the Army Corps of Engineers. We are ready and waiting with open arms for those middle class families from New Jersey to come and enjoy a great day at the Jersey shore," Doherty said.