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Sea Bright Weighs Request on Merchantile Fees

SEA BRIGHT: A hotel asking for relief from the borough’s mercantile license fee spurred a discussion on the level of fees charged to businesses in Sea Bright, but Borough Council agreed to keep the status quo, allowing the fees to continue.

Beachwalk at Sea Bright asked the borough council to lower its mercantile fee, which amounts to $20 a room. Sea Bright Business Administrator Joseph Verruni said that when researching how its fees compared to neighboring towns, Sea Bright’s was higher. Ocean Township’s is set at $15 per room, for example.

Verruni said that, however, Sea Bright does not charge a hotel motel tax, meaning the total fees are comparable or less than other towns’ when factoring that in.

“We’re on the high side of a mercantile license fee, however we do not charge a hotel motel tax,” Verruni said.

As the council asked questions of Verruni at its June meeting, the business administrator said that based on his research the cost of doing business in Sea Bright was not abnormally higher than its neighbors, as far as fees were concerned.

“You’re not off the chart,” he said.

A hotel the size of Beachwalk would face $1,000 in fees, he said.

Some council members said that it would be unfair to waive fees for just one business.

“I agree with the mayor, it would be opening up a can of worms,” said Councilman Marc Leckstein.

The council did not introduce a resolution to waive fees, and instead took no action on the request

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