Hands Off Badges

Oct 18, 2017

To the Editor:

What we absolutely do not need is another masked tax. If one were to address beach badge fees, do it for the beaches, not to subsidize the shuttle (“Ready-Made Solution,” 10/11). My property taxes have gone up about $1,000 in the past two years. Take the $10 from that. Out of curiosity, I wonder how much was actually “donated” by those 100,000 estimated shuttle riders this past summer. 

Down here on the poor end of the Island, we walk or ride our bikes during the summer. None of us have used the shuttle, ever, until this year. This year I took my two grandkids on a ride on the shuttle just to try it out. And I donated at the end of that ride.    

I refuse to accept that my badge fee ought to increase so your family or your neighbors can ride free on the shuttle because the distances discourage you from the alternatives to cars. Perhaps riders could just simply donate more money each time they use the shuttle. I am tired of seeing more and more non-qualifying user welfare programs. I do not need one disguised as a free shuttle.

How about just trying to charge a minimal $2 fee for the rides. There’s a fast $200,000. Kids pay more than that for ice cream at the beach.  

Another related thought before we add to the beach badge fees: How about collecting better from everyone who uses the beaches? Every year, there are many locals who brag (!) about never having purchased a badge. And they are telling it as it is.

The collection process is atrocious. It is embarrassingly inept. The entire time the beach is under guard, there ought to be someone stationed at every beach entrance to check for badges and collect the badge fee. The missed fees must amount to tens of thousands per year. I would like to see some form of reconciliation of the numbers. The numbers of badges sold vs. the projected daily volume of bathers ages 12 and older. Methinks there will be a rather large disparity, which if reduced would fund much of what you are seeking.

Perhaps we could send one of the beach badge program administrators to Point Pleasant, Seaside or Bay Head to learn how to collect the fees more efficiently. Let’s improve the current system before we simply try to throw more money at it. 

R.D. Mutz

Beach Haven

P.S. I have bought multiple badges for myself and my family for all 40 years since they were begun, 1977 in the township, 1978 and thereafter since buying my home in Beach Haven. Those who know me also know I have the proof.     




Comments (1)
Posted by: Jean D Ragone | Oct 19, 2017 06:33

Years ago the Island had a “Jitney” that carried people from one end of the Island to the other. I am pretty sure that you paid somewhere between 5 and 25 cents to ride it. I don’t understand why riders cannot pay a fee, not a donation, to contribute toward the expense of a benefit they receive. I don’t own a business. I pay my taxes. I buy more beach badges than I need. I contribute to the volunteer FD & First Aid. I buy local as much as possible. And I have never used the shuttle. I don’t mind contributing to it’s operation as we all do get some sort of benefit but the actual users of the shuttle need to contribute substantially more for their use of this service.

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