BERKELEY – The price of a daily beach badge for South Seaside Park’s oceanfront could get more expensive. Berkeley Township is considering an ordinance raising the price from $5 to $8.
Township officials said the increased price of a daily weekday badge should lead to some solvency for the beach operations, where operational costs have outpaced badge revenue for many years.
The changes are up for a public hearing and final vote at the township council’s February 27 meeting.
The new prices would be:
$8 for a weekday, daily badge.
$8 for a Saturday, Sunday or holiday such as Memorial Day.
$25 for a week’s badge.
$30 for a season badge bought before May 15.
$50 for a season badge bought May 15 or afterward.
Besides the badge prices, another change is hoped to help out senior residents with their beach badge. Instead of getting a senior photo each year, they would pay $10 for a lifetime badge. If the photo ID is lost, a reissued one costs $10. The service is available for residents 62 and older.
The badges would be in effect during beach season, which the ordinance lists as between May 15 to September 30, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Berkeley’s oceanfront beaches are from 20th Avenue to the border with Island Beach State Park.
“This is essentially taking a look at our beach fees to try and get the beach to be more in line with the surrounding beaches as far as the beach badge costs go, and to get the beach to cover its own expenses, which it has not been doing the last couple years,” said Township Administrator John Camera. “Lastly we want to do it all without any hardship on our residents and particularly our senior citizens and I think we have that accomplished.”
Township Chief Financial Officer Fred Ebenau said beach operations cost about $110,000 each year, while the revenue is often around $90,000.
“In the past 10 years, we have broke even once,” Ebenau said. The biggest deficit was in 2013, the summer after Superstorm Sandy, he said. “We haven’t really fully recovered.”
Councilman Jim Byrnes asked if the photo ID badges would be available in places other than the main office, but also at the beachfront, and Mayor Carmen Amato said that would be possible.
Amato said the new prices are competitive with its neighbors; for example, Seaside Park’s daily beach badge is $10.
The council will vote on the beach badge ordinance at its February 27 meeting, which takes place after the council workshop meeting.