Giordano: Free The Beach
By Dom Giordano
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — It’s summer time and it’s great to return to the Jersey shore for all the things that don’t change like the beaches, Mack’s Pizza, and of course beach tags. Beach tags and beach tag collectors have become part of the Jersey shore, a unique cottage industry. I looked up the most recent budget for Stone Harbor and in 2013 they pulled in $700,000 in beach fees. This in a town that has limited beaches and a 2014 budget of $14,000,000. Why would should they be allowed to do this?
Just down the road from Stone Harbor, Avalon has a budget of $24.8 million and yet collects beach fees and in fact appears to incredibly tough about. Local columnist Christopher Friend writing at the Philly Mag website detailed his dispute with the Avalon Beach Patrol which shows the drunk with power attitude some of the beach tag squads exhibit.
The big argument of all these towns that charge fees is that they provide lifeguards, clean beaches, preservation of sand etc. Hey, we already pay for this with federal and state taxes. Also, the beach and ocean is the draw for each town and providing a good beach is the cost of doing business for each town.
This whole issue was raised recently when the public coughed up $60 billion to make whole the victims in New Jersey of Hurricane Sandy. There was talk because of this help of rolling back beach fees for a time. What happened with this?
More importantly, why have we put up with this all these years? I love to hear your thoughts on this.