COURT HOUSE - The Cape May County Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors opposes proposed legislation, S2368, which if passed would tie municipal beach fees to state and/or federally funded beach replenishment projects.
In a letter to Senators Sweeney and Doherty who are sponsoring this bill, Chamber President Vicki Clark stated, “beaches are the lifeblood of Cape May County’s tourism economy, and clean, healthy beaches are imperative to our $5.1 billion tourism industry. Municipal beach fees provide revenue to individual towns to guard and maintain beaches during the summer season, providing a safe and enjoyable experience for visitors. Eliminating beach fees would place the burden of beach safety and maintenance on local residential and business property taxes. We believe this action would ultimately drive the price of a visitor’s experience higher than the price of a beach tag and seriously endanger the local economy. Beach fees apply only to individuals who visit the beach and therefore are a user fee.”
Local municipalities already share the cost of beach fill projects as well as provide life guards, beach cleaning, public restrooms, emergency services, trash collection from beach goers and more – all costs created by beach users.
New Jersey’s coastal communities face huge re-building and recovery challenges in the aftermath of hurricane Sandy. “While the Cape May County Chamber of Commerce does not feel that the elimination of beach fees should be considered at all, doing so at this time is puzzling if not completely insensitive” stated Clark.
The Cape May County Chamber of Commerce is a business organization with some 900 members whose mission is to be the voice of the business community by promoting tourism and economic development through legislative advocacy, marketing services, networking opportunities and educational programs for member businesses. For more information, visit www.CapeMayCountyChamber.com.