One of the most popular FREE beaches in New Jersey may not be free for much longer but for now the traditionally free sand of the Wildwoods remains without charge.
The Wildwood Board of Commissioners will meet Wednesday to discuss the possibility of implementing beach fees.
Last week, Wildwood Mayor Ernie Troiano Jr. told NBC10 that the Cape May County shore town was considering new streams of income including possible beach fees.
The mayor said fees are far from a done deal, but that the town is always looking for ways to make more money.
This is not the first time a cost for beach use has been suggested. In 1976, 1981 and 2013 the possibility of charging beachgoers was discussed -- and then rejected.
The charge would help offset maintenance costs. Troiano told the Wildwood Leader about $2 million is spent annually maintaining the beach.
When it was discussed in 2013, officials believed $1.2 million in new revenue would be added from the fee.
Not everyone thinks charging for sand and surf is best. John Siciliano, Executive Director of the Greater Wildwods Tourism Authority, said he would like to see the beaches remain free of charge.
"Free beaches separate the Wildwoods from other shore towns that charge a fee," Siciliano said. "That distinction draws people to our island and has been an asset for tourism."
Without the beach fees, maintenance costs fall on taxpayers and tax revenues generated by visitors.