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Towns Struggle With Raising Beach Tag Fees To Pay For Sandy [AUDIO]

Most shore towns say they have no plans to raise beach badge fees to help pay for Sandy related costs, but others say they haven’t ruled it out.

Mark Wilson, Getty Images

As towns wait for the Federal Emergency Management Agency to decide if they will reimburse more of the bills for beach cleanup after Superstorm Sandy, some towns say increasing beach tags may be an option.

“I haven’t ruled it out, but as I look closer at the numbers coming in for all the storm costs, it might be on the table. It all depends on what FEMA does, if they decide to reimburse us 75% of the total cost or 90% of the cost. If taxpayers are stuck with 25% or 10% that’s a big difference and could mean millions of dollars,” said Seaside Heights Mayor Bill Akers.

Akers says the borough may reconsider an increase if FEMA reimburses 90% of the cleanup costs.

“I think all towns are struggling with similar issues and so we would like to have the users pay the fees to use the beaches, but we will consider all options at this point after we hear from FEMA.”

Last year daily beach badges cost five dollars. Akers says if there were to be an increase it would be a modest one.

“Look, I’m not trying to scare anybody away, but these are trying times right now.”

Belmar is the only town considering increasing beach tag fees, by one dollar, to help offset the cost of rebuilding the boardwalk.

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