Lavallette officials held a short borough council meeting Monday night, taking action on several routine items and making decisions on some open discussions.
Beach Badge Prices
Beach badge prices have already been decided for the 2021 season and are now available for sale (see separate article). But in the future, to accommodate holiday season sales at the same time the governing body must set prices for the upcoming year, the borough will streamline the process of changing badge pricing.
As it currently stands, pricing is set by ordinance. If prices are to change – even by a penny – such action requires a lengthy process. A new ordinance must be written, introduced by the council, adopted by the council after a second vote and public hearing, then advertised in the newspaper before another 30 days must pass for the action to be codified.
The council on Monday night introduced an ordinance that would allow beach badge prices to be set by a resolution of the governing body. While any new prices must still appear on a meeting agenda and be subject to a vote and input from the public, council members will have the opportunity to review finances after the previous beach season and make adjustments to badge pricing by the single passage of one resolution at a meeting.
“We can still have the conversation, but it will allow us to move faster in the process,” said Councilman Michael Stogdill.
There will also be limitations on how much prices can rise, since the underlying ordinance will provide a certain range as to how large a price increase can be.
“We can’t just set any price we see fit,” said Mayor Walter LaCicero. “It has to be set within the range which appears in the ordinance. There is no range within the ordinance as it is currently written.”
The change in how prices will be set is largely due to the tight calendar between the end of beach season and when badges must be ordered to coincide with those who wish to give a badge as a Christmas gift.
“There is only one meeting, generally, in November, and you want to have everything ready to go for December for holiday sales,” said Borough Attorney Phil George.
The badge prices “must reflect the reasonable value of the services provided,” George said, and must be “beach specific.”
A final adopted of the new policy will come after a public hearing at the March 8 borough council meeting.
No Cruises From Lavallette Bayfront
The council unanimously denied a request by a vendor seeking to host boat cruises of Barnegat Bay from the borough’s T-dock at the bayfront.
Chris Olvesen, of Barnegat Bay Cruises, sought the borough’s permission to run cruises of the bay from the dock at Magee Avenue. The proposal called for a six-person cruise to run at 7 p.m. and drop passengers back off by 9 p.m. The cruises would have run from May 12 to Sept. 12.
The council immediately came out against the proposal, citing liability risks linked to passengers entering and exiting the boat – with one council member saying he was concerned people may drink while on board the boat.
But ultimately, those concerns were not the primary driver of the denial of the permit.
“We’ve always objected to further commercialization of our recreational facilities, so I would object to it,” said Mayor Walter LaCicero.
The council then voted to deny the application unanimously.