The Toms River Township council introduced two ordinances this week that will raise fees for beach badges and two services at the Bey Lea golf course.
The cost of a season badge will rise to $60 from $50 if purchased between Memorial Day and Labor Day. If purchased during the pre-season period (April 1 to Memorial Day weekend), badges will cost $45, up from $35 last season.
A weekly badge will cost $35, up from $25, a weekday daily badge will cost $10, up from $9, and a weekend/holiday daily badge will cost $11, up from $10.
Township officials blamed the increased price on the state’s minimum wage increase that is entering its second year. Several other local communities have raised beach badge prices for the same reason, with officials saying those who work as badge checkers can earn more working at non-seasonal stores, such as Acme in Ortley Beach, or at Island Beach State Park.
“This has a lot to do with the minimum wage increase,” said Councilman Matthew Lotano. “It’s covering the addition of those expenses.”
The Toms River Township beach badge is for Ortley Beach on the ocean and Shelter Cove on the bay. Senior citizens, defined as persons 62 years of age and over, may access township beaches free of charge, but must obtain a senior citizen beach identification card issued by the township. Residency is not required.
The council introduced a separate ordinance that will raise the tee time lottery and handicapping fees at the Bey Lea golf course. Tee time reservation lottery fees will rise to $150, up from $100, and $300 on weekends and holidays, up from $250.
The ordinance also raises the price of for United States Golf Association GHIN handicap system from $35 to $37.
The council approved both ordinances on first reading 6-1, with Councilman Dan Rodrick standing in opposition.
“I don’t support raising fees, period,” said Rodrick.
Councilwoman Maria Maruca disagreed, especially on the beach fees, saying they have not been raised since Superstorm Sandy except for a $1 increase last year.
“We are bringing them in line with local municipalities,” she said.
The council is required to hold a public hearing and take a second vote before the ordinances are codified. That is expected at the Feb. 9 council meeting.