WILDWOOD, N.J. (CBS) – After considering charging to use their beaches, the City of Wildwood has decided to nix that idea.
On Wednesday, Wildwood officials decided to pull a ballot question that voters were set to vote on in a special election next month.
Wildwood Mayor Ernie Troiano said the beach fee money would have been used to fill budget gaps and to maintain the beaches.
Troiano says he knows beach fees are controversial.
“You have people who will sit there and chop your head off because their taxes are too high,” he says, “and then you try to create a revenue source and then they chop your head off for that.”
Troiano says it costs Wildwood about $1 million to maintain the beach. Taxpayers cover $760,000 and the rest is covered by about $240,000 from the Greater Wildwoods Tourism Improvement and Development Authority from tax revenues generated by visitors.
Authority director John Siciliano says the town would no longer receive the funds if it charges to use the beach.
Business owners were concerned the fees might drive visitors away.
Wildwood officials did announce that they will enter discussion with Wildwood Crest and North Wildwood on the implementation of shares services as an alternative solution to beach fees. The shared services could include beach maintenance, lifeguarding, fire and police.
Wildwood voters turned down beach fees in 1976 and 1981.