VENTNOR – The Board of Commissioners Thursday, Sept. 24 introduced an ordinance raising beach fees for summer 2021.
If approved, the ordinance would raise the fee for seasonal pre-season beach tags to $10, up from $7, for those under 12 years old. The fee will increase to $20 after May 31, up from $15. Senior citizens tags will remain at $3.50. Holiday beach tags will be $12 for the following summer season.
“At $7 we are probably the lowest across the state of New Jersey,” Mayor Beth Holtzman said.
In addition to increased costs for beach maintenance, minimum wage is on the rise, as are salaries for members of the Beach Patrol and Public Works.
“Ventnor is not a wealthy city and we need the revenue,” she said.
Holtzman said the increase would result in an estimated increase in revenue of $100,000, which is a half-cent on the tax rate.
Ventnor and Margate share the same beach tags, and Margate will also be increasing fees, Holtzman said.
“We talked about this for two years with Margate,” she said.
Commissioner Tim Kriebel said the increase is warranted because the population of the city triples in summer.
“Even though our full time residents buy beach badges, we are a town that triples in size. A third of the revenue will come from people visiting Ventnor. This is one way to take some of the burden off of the taxpayers. We can’t continue to fund the city on fees that are decades old,” he said.
Revenue from beach badges has increased every year, and despite the COVID-19 pandemic that closed beaches in early summer, 2020 beach badge revenue was higher than last year, Holtzman said.
“I know people are out of work and with COVID, I struggled a little with it, but we need to be able to balance the budget and take it off the taxpayers,” she said.
The commissioners also introduced a new ordinance requiring Planning Board applications to be submitted digitally so they can be uploaded to the city’s website and reviewed remotely.
Having documents submitted digitally will allow them to be viewed online, which benefits out-of-town homeowners who could be affected by any zoning variances granted to other properties on their block, Kriebel said.
Like the Board of Commissioners, Planning Board will also be going with hybrid meetings with spectators attending in-person or on Zoom, which generates more attendees, especially among second homeowners, Commissioner Lance Landgraf said.
“It’s a great way to interact and we are going to be doing the same thing with the Planning Board,” he said.
Public hearings on both ordinances will be held 5:30 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 8.
In other business, the board approved increasing the rates charged for water and sewer service. No members of the public questioned or commented on the rate increase.
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