Beach tags and their accompanying fees are more or less a New Jersey phenomenon. Oh sure some other places try the old bilk-eroo, but beach fees are a Jersey ritual with only a few locales here offering free entrance and beach use. Notably Atlantic City and The Wildwoods offer gratis services. And Atlantic City trumps that with muggings and occasional murders. Any idea what the revenue tally from beach tags total? Take a gander... or get goosed...
Hmmm. Not much chance for a slip and slide with these sums? Huh? This is Jersey, man! Most of these revenues come in as cash money... With a suspected report rate of less than 100% of collected revenues, the opportunities for a carve up of these sums is limitless. Whoever said New Jersey and skimming, perfect together might have been on to something.
Now, the fees for beach use are repugnant on their face. Beaches should be free as a matter of the public's right to public assets and attractions. Beaches are public entities! The tags are designed to restrict the beach to those who can afford to live nearby (beach fees are reduced if purchased before the season, a time where locals are there and the masses are not.)
It is that time of the year when folks go down the shore. Naturally that is Jersey-ese and apropos herein. Ocean City rakes in the top cash, this year expected to top $4 million. Being the leader in take, the City claims it uses all of the bounty to upkeep its beaches. Hmmm, lets parse that # a bit.
For argument's sake let's run the season at 120 days. A simple 120 into $4 million yields a daily budget of $33,333.33. Wild treys! Hmmm, hmmm, if the average beach cleaner/maintenance worker is paid $15 an hour (generous!) and he/she works 8 hours... At $120 a day per worker that 33k allows (using $25,000 a day for labor, cleaner uppers, life guards, etc. and $8,333 daily for equipment, fuel, trash management, etc.) 208 employees to be at the job. A small army that is! 208... Oh rele!
Another interesting subplot is the lack of transportability of the tags. Only good for a single or perhaps a couple of contiguous sites, a citizen visiting more than one locale through the summer needs to take out a home equity loan (alright, an exaggeration.)
Considering the costs of living in New Jersey, beach tag fees conjure up a "Are you s******' me?" Perhaps and just throwing this out there, why not just Sergeant Bilko the out-of-staters? Especially the Pennsylvanians... Since the cost of living is so Keystone low, the PA bunch wouldn't mind paying their unfair share, especially if Jersey-ites would be willing to up-pay when they visit places like Hershey Park or the Poconos. Ha! Like who goes there anyways?
Well gotta go now. Seems like I forgot to buy my four badges at the discount pre-Memorial day rate. Here in Margate, there are no daily or weekly rates (indicating there are no daily or weekly people welcome.) So it'll be $60 @ $15 a head. Wonder what would happen if that cash could be followed? Where does it all go? Pocket pool? And for what? Luckily, New Jersey is the only state with no toll roads. That makes up for the beach tag fees. Yeah, right.
So long fellow chumps!