If the issue is placed on the ballot this November, and local residents vote in favor of it, you may have to pay to access Wildwood beaches as early as next summer.

on the beach
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The sand in Wildwood has been a constant favorite among New Jersey residents, and it's one of only a few beaches in the state that doesn't charge an entry fee, but that could change if officials get their way.

Ernie Troiano Jr., mayor of Wildwood, noted there have been no official discussions on the matter this year. Those discussions could pop up, though, in the next few weeks.

"You're always trying to figure out the best way to bring in new revenues to offset the expenses of operating your community without burdening the taxpayer," Troiano said.

Troiano cited $1.5 million in beach maintenance costs per year, a burden that's taken on by his residents.

"It's a hardship to a lot of people who are on fixed incomes," he said.

The situation is a tricky one for local officials. Beach fees would, of course, bring in new money, but they could also turn off visitors who have been enjoying the free sand for ages.

However, Troiano said day-trippers are constantly using the city's beaches without contributing a dime to the economy, and that can be frustrating considering the high cost of maintenance.

If Wildwood chooses to put beach fees on the ballot, Troiano believes North Wildwood and Wildwood Crest would do the same.

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