Another incremental increase in New Jersey’s minimum wage has prompted Lavallette officials to raise its seasonal beach badge prices just slightly, shaving a few dollars off a pre-season discount.
Though the state’s minimum wage increases were delayed for public agencies, competition from private industry – coupled with a nationwide labor shortage – has made staffing more difficult over the last few seasons. That has meant the borough has had to raise its own wages for beach personnel, from badge checkers to lifeguards.
“Salary and wages are going to increase with the minimum wage increase anywhere from $50,000 to $75,000, depending on the level of experience we can get,” said Councilman Michael Stogdill. “We always have a breakdown in guards to certain categories based on experience. This year, the applications just didn’t come in. We are proposing to meet that.”
While the borough managed to hire a full slate of badge checkers, it was a difficult task. When it came to the police department, though separate from a budgetary perspective, officials said they only received 10 applications for seasonal positions this season – the norm is about 70 to 80.
Seasonal beach badges for the 2022 summer season will remain at $60. But pre-season badge prices will rise from $50 to $55 after Jan. 1. Those beachgoers who buy badges when the borough begins selling them in December will still be able to receive the larger discount and pay $50 for badges. Senior badges will remain at $20. Daily and weekly badges will also remain the same price as last season. Seasonal badge prices rise to $60 on a designated date late in the spring.
The increase in the pre-season discount is expected to generate about $65,000, Stogdill said. About 80 to 85 percent of season badges are sold pre-season.
“That would be the only increase we are proposing thus far; everything else is staying the same,” said Stogdill.
Holiday badge sales are currently scheduled to begin Dec. 1 and run through Dec. 23, and must be purchased in person at town hall. The borough will announce its holiday badge sales procedure in the coming days.