WILDWOOD – Appear aing year, Wildwood may no best be able to bazaar its abundantly chargeless beach.
The Cape May County resort’s cachet as one of a scattering of Jersey Shore destinations that do not crave bank tags is advertised to ambitious tourists from Florida to Quebec.
A contempo appraisal of the city’s affairs has admiral apprehensive whether that may accept to appear to an end – a move that at atomic one tourism able warned could backlash in a still-sputtering economy.
It costs at atomic $1.5 actor a year to benedict the strand, say admiral in Wildwood, area the citizenry swells from about 5,300 to 250,000 in the summer. The money from bank badges would advice awning that aliment and abate ache on the burghal budget, which has suffered the furnishings of a shrinking tax base.
“Property owners actuality are already advantageous a bank fee in the anatomy of the taxes they pay. . . . It seems arbitrary to accumulate assured they will be the ones to buck all of that accountability as costs abide to rise,” said Wildwood Burghal Commissioner Pete Byron, who said the bill for befitting the bank apple-pie had risen about 14 percent annually in contempo years.
Officials are commutual an assay to actuate whether the badges would amount too abundant in the continued run, Byron said. Wildwood has such a all-inclusive bank – about two afar continued and about a half-mile advanced in spots – that it may be too big-ticket to actualize restricted-access credibility area badges could be arrested and sold, he said.
The burghal additionally is investigating whether altered revenue-generating activities on the amplitude ability prove as advantageous – and beneath infuriating to tourists. Private cabanas, bank bars, RV camping areas, storage-box rentals, and accretion the resort’s new offseason horseback-riding affairs all accept been mentioned, Byron said. No calendar has been set for a decision.
One achievability is to put the brand catechism to voters in the anatomy of a referendum, which has not happened in Wildwood for 30 years. In any case, the beaches will be chargeless in 2012.
If tags prove necessary, Wildwood would advertise them for beneath than the Shore boilerplate of $5 daily, $10 weekly, and $20 for the season, Byron said.
Nearly all Shore resorts – with the barring of Strathmere, Atlantic City, and the Wildwoods – crave beachgoers to buy badges. In best places, that has been the case for added than four decades. Towns are not accustomed to accumulation from the auction of tags.
Officials in North Wildwood and Wildwood Crest – which accept Wildwood and allotment its (beach) awning identity, boardwalk, and a agile of tram cars – accept said they would not chase if Wildwood aing the pack.
“Every boondocks is up adjoin it with a accident of acquirement and added factors in contempo years, so we’re all attractive for new avenues of revenue. . . . But I don’t anticipate bank fees are the answer,” said Kevin Yecco, Wildwood Crest apple clerk.
The borough’s administering anatomy has not broached the accountable back voters defeated a election on the accountable by a 2-1 arrangement in a recessionary abridgement 30 years ago, Yecco said.
North Wildwood doesn’t accept the amount on its agenda, either.
In the still-recovering economy, with tourists ambitious a lot for their dollar, arty a new user fee – alike for article as admirable as a day at the bank – could be tricky, according to Wesley Roehl, a assistant and biking analysis administrator at Temple University’s School of Tourism and Hospitality Management.
“Adding the amount of a melancholia tag may not accept that big of an appulse on best people’s budgets, back it’s a almost baby amount over a accomplished summer,” Roehl said. “But there could be a cerebral appulse overall, because you accept article that goes from actuality absolutely chargeless to article that has a amount associated with it.”
A bank fee additionally could affect ad-lib day trips, he said. “Currently, a ancestors can deathwatch up, say, ‘Let’s go to Wildwood,’ hustle the kids into the car, and not stop until they’re at the beach. If Wildwood goes to tags and the ancestors in catechism aren’t already division tag holders, the ad-lib cruise to the Shore aloof became added complicated,” Roehl said.
Though chargeless beaches accept been a abundant business apparatus for Wildwood, it’s barefaced that the boondocks is rethinking that, said Diane F. Wieland, administrator of Cape May County’s Department of Tourism.
“The costs are so aerial to accumulate them clean,” Wieland said. “First and foremost, it’s important to accept apple-pie beaches.”
Some tourists accuse about the fees to use accessible beaches in the Garden State compared to places like Maryland, Virginia, the Carolinas, and Florida that about do not charge, she said. But she contends that not all those places are as conscientious about admonishment their bathing areas.
“I’m not abiding they are charwoman their beaches to the admeasurement that we do here. All the dollars calm through bank tags go to account the costs anniversary of these towns pay,” Wieland said. “The amount is high. . . . It is huge.”
Tourists are acceptable to appetite to go to Wildwood no amount what, said Israel Posner, controlling administrator of the Lloyd D. Levenson Institute of Gaming, Hospitality and Tourism School of Business at Richard Stockton College of New Jersey.
“A summer day on the Jersey Shore is the aing best affair to heaven, and that’s a abuse acceptable value,” Posner said.
Contact agents biographer Jacqueline L. Urgo at 609-652-8382 or [email protected]
Published: January 29, 2012 — 3:01 AM EST The Philadelphia Inquirer
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