Benny come back! Jersey Shore towns lost revenue in 2017
When you buy a seasonal pass for your favorite New Jersey beach, there's no refund for poor weather.
But if you're a purchaser of daily passes — putting out $5 to $10 each time you visit — you can better save or spend your money, based on the actions of Mother Nature.
It was the difference of about 20,000 daily badges that caused a drop of nearly $100,000 in beach tag revenue for Ocean City in 2017, compared to the year prior.
Continuing its streak, the city once again brought in beach-badge revenue topping $4 million for the summer, but it had seen better-performing years.
"We had a lot more rain in South Jersey, particularly in July and August, than we normally have," said Frank Donato, the city's director of finance. "The past couple years, I don't think we had lost any weekends to rain in July and August, but 2017 was different."
Ocean City was consistent in its sales of seasonal and weekly badges, typically purchased by residents or folks who plan on an extended stay, but on-the-spot daily sales saw a big decline.
"In some cases it might not even be bad weather — it could be a forecast," Donato said.
The $2 million worth of beach-badge revenue earned by Long Branch in 2017 represented a $151,000 drop from summer 2016. Business Administrator Kevin Hayes noted the city provided more temporary beach parking in 2017, but iffy weather kept some visitors away.
Apparently nothing can stop the year-after-year growth on the sand in Asbury Park. Joe Bongiovanni, the city's beach safety supervisor, said beach-tag revenue jumped about $200,000 from 2016 to 2017.
Bongiovanni said the numbers "have been growing every year," thanks to redevelopment efforts that began toward the beginning of last decade.
"It's just a completely different place now," he said, pointing specifically to boardwalk restaurants and shops, and the opening of the Asbury Hotel in 2016.
Bongiovanni noted all the revenue from beach badges goes right back to everything related to the beachgoing experience. In 2017, the city purchased a "one-armed bandit" machine that can collect and dispose of trash, which had been a huge issue for the city.
Summer precipitation averaged about 14.62 inches across the state — 1.94 inches above average, according to the New Jersey State Climatologist.
Badge fees will stay put for 2018 in Asbury Park, Long Branch and Ocean City, officials said.
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Contact reporter Dino Flammia at email@example.com.