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Long Branch Opposes Bill That Would Relinquish City’s Control of Beaches

LONG BRANCH: City officials are opposing a bill that would relinquish control of municipal beaches to Monmouth County.

The bill, Senate Bill 2171/Assembly Bill 1596, would also allow beachgoers to buy one beach badge from the county that would allow them to access any beach in Monmouth County.

The bill would allow similar action to occur in towns in Ocean, Atlantic and Cape May counties.

The Long Branch Council passed a resolution opposing the bill during its July 8 meeting.

“The Long Branch Council strongly oppose(s) any legislation that would regionalize the provision of beach management and operations while putting the burden of beach public health, safety and welfare onto the taxpayers of all the municipalities,” the resolution states.

The resolution states that revenue from the beach badges is used to “offset the cost directly to the taxpayers” and that the proposed legislation “does not consider the tax impact to shore communities if beach badge revenues are lost.”

The bill was introduced in Senate on June 9 and referred to the State Environment and Energy Committee.

However, the bill was was halted a few days later in response to a protest from Monmouth County Administrator Teri O'Connor, who said the proposal "is not the type of enhanced role that Monmouth County or our municipalities desire.”

The legislation would also give the county the power of eminent domain in order to erect dunes to protect lands, property and facilities located near the beaches.

The bill does give any municipality located in the four oceanfront counties to adopt and ordinance that would allow it to maintain its control over its beaches and collect its own beach fees. The county ordinance or resolution would not apply to that municipality if such action is taken.

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