BY REBECCA SHEEHAN
NEW JERSEY NEWSROOM
The state of New Jersey is known for its beautiful suburban neighborhoods as well as it close proximity to the Big Apple. But one of its greatest natural attractions is, in fact, its beaches.
Fun in the sand and surf for a week is always a treat, but wouldn’t it be a little bit sweeter if you didn’t have to worry about the beach fees?
State Senator Mike Doherty, (R-Warren/Hunterdon/Somerset), recently unveiled a proposal that would eliminate the beach access fees currently charged in most shore towns throughout the summer season. According to CBS Philly, Doherty has been a long-time supporter of removing the fees and sees the rebuilding process from Hurricane Sandy as the perfect opportunity to eliminate the fees permanently.
“Since the residents of New Jersey are going to be asked to invest a lot into the restoration of these shore communities, I think once we restore these communities we should have free beach access for all the people,” Doherty told KYW Newsradio.
Now in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy the debate over the elimination of beach fees has not been as well received as Doherty would have liked. Instead Shore beach residents are left confused as they hear plans to to cut off a prime revenue source for their towns.
“I think to bring up beach tags and beach fees, and who pays for what, and getting into that age-long discussion, is clearly insensitive at this particular point,” says Bill Dressel, executive direct0or of the New Jersey League of Municipalities, who at the moment disagrees with Doherty’s timing on the proposal but is not dismissing the idea completely.
Hurricane Sandy ravaged the shore and Senator Doherty strongly believes this plan of action will ensure that all taxpayers enjoy the fruits of public funds spent on rebuilding.
“I’ve long believed that the state’s beach tag system unfairly limits access to a public resource which has been the beneficiary of a great deal of state and federal investment,” he stated in a press release. “The damage done by Hurricane Sandy simply illustrates this point on an unprecedented scale. The Jersey Shore is a state treasure and an important economic engine, but it is a resource that belongs to all of us and is maintained by the taxes that all of us pay.”