Free beaches come at high cost

By L. Tierney |

Those New Jersey homeowners who were concerned about granting government easements for beach replenishment? Turns out they were right to be suspicious.

Two bills pending in the state Senate could mean big changes for Long Beach Island.

Senate bill S-2368, filed last session, requires any municipality that accepts federal or state money to replenish storm-damaged beaches to provide free public restroom facilities for beachgoers. Pending this session is S-648, which blocks beach fees.

In a nutshell, “Anyone who receives federal grant money to work on their beaches, as we did, would not be allowed to charge for beaches,” Mary Madonna, Surf City’s Borough Council Clerk, told The Sandpaper, a shore area newspaper.

If enacted, the legislation would put the state in charge of paying for town beaches, since towns won’t be allowed to sell beach badges. The money would come from taxes. The Legislature will appropriate two percent of all sales and use taxes from Jersey Shore towns and then give the money back to those towns for beach maintenance.

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