BELMAR, NJ — What a difference this summer’s beach-friendly weather made in Belmar, as beach badge sales swelled to their highest level in three years.
Couple that with the first increase in badge prices in four years and the borough closed out the 2019 season with a 22 percent hike in beach access revenues over the previous year, according to the borough’s annual beach report statistics.
Total beach badges sold climbed by 26,700 to 300,077 over the previous year, bringing in nearly $3.56 million in revenues compared to $2.91 million in 2018 when rainy weather dampened nine of 14 weekends. The last time Belmar sold more than 300,000 beach badges was in 2015 when they totaled 347,551, raking in $3.5 million in revenues.
But while there was a major increase in sales of daily badges — from 250,041 in 2018 to 279,955 in 2019, the number of seasonal badges sold slipped from 14,144 to 13,661 and senior badges from 9,030 to 6,166 — a decline that could be attributed to a change in the qualifying age for senior badges from age 62 to 65.
However, across-the-board increases in badge fees translated into revenue gains in all categories. Here’s a look:
■ Daily $9 badges– $2.52 million, compared to $2 million at $8 each in 2018.
■ Seasonal $70 badges – $897,395, compared to $777,920 at $55 each in 2018.
■ Senior $30 badges – $153,795, compared to $135,450 at $15 in 2018.
In addition, 295 disability badges sold in 2019 brought in $11,800 this year.
Revenues from beach locker fees climbed $20,450 to $124,050, after a new price structure set a new $250 fee for nonresidents.
Belmar did not fare so well in terms of revenues from metered parking along the beachfront. After a court ruling forced the borough to roll back the parking fee from $2 to $1 an hour, it took a toll on parking revenues, which tumbled nearly 40 percent — from $215,499 in 2018 to $129,594.
Borough officials plan to examine the issue during the off-season, looking to come up with a better alternative to meet a shortfall in its parking utility budget next year.
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