One of the most popular FREE beaches in New Jersey may not be free for much longer.
Wildwood Mayor Ernie Troiano Jr. confirmed that officials are considering implementing beach fees.
The mayor said it was far from a done deal, but that the town is always looking for ways to make more money. Beach fees are just one possible option.
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 Diretor of the Greater WIldwods Tourism Authority, said he would like to see the beaches remain free of charge.
"Free beaches separate the Widwoods 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, the cost of beach maintenance falls on taxpayers and tourism authority tax revenues generated by visitors.
The topic is expected to be discussed at the Board of Commissioner's meeting on August 6.