Legislators support bill that would take away beach tags - NBC40.net

Legislators support bill that would take away beach tags

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The battle over charging for beach tags continued in Cape May County where officials met in hopes of changing the minds of State Legislators.

The devastation caused by Hurricane Sandy can still be seen all along the Barrier Islands, but the shore towns requesting federal funding to recover, may be facing yet another upset.

"This proposed Legislation I feel is totally ridiculous when they say that if you accept federal or state funding that you should not be able to accept beach fees," said Sea Isle City Mayor, Leonard Desiderio.

State Senator Michael Doherty and Senate President Stephen Sweeney are backing a bill that would make beach access free in New Jersey.

But Cape May County officials say that the state does not understand the downward spiral of their actions.

"We'd have to lay off our entire fire department, or our police department which are major public safety issues as any one of these elected officials can tell you," said Cape May City Mayor, Dr. Edward Mahaney.

According to the Sea Isle City Mayor, tourists bring in 5.1 billion dollars in revenue. This helps to fund public safety officials, lifeguards, and beach replenishment projects. Without that funding a new plan must be developed.

"One proposal and solution is to raise local property tax," said Desiderio. "Well Senator, what I say to you is that we already have the highest local property tax in the nation. So what do you propose we do?"

While the Senators where not available to comment Doherty released a statement saying that "Considering the massive public resources that will be directed at rebuilding many New Jersey beaches, it only seems fair to ensure that everyone have the opportunity to enjoy free access to the beaches they will support and help rebuild with their tax dollars."

At this time the bill has not been posted, and even Governor Chris Christie is asking that the subject be postponed.

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