By PETE WALTON
Daily beach badges will cost $12 in Bradley Beach this summer.
By a 4-1 vote, the Borough Council approved the $1 drop in price when it met earlier this week.
Councilman John Weber voted against the resolution, saying at a previous meeting that a $10 daily badge would be “more fair to more families.”
The council raised the daily fee from $10 to $13 last summer, anticipating a decrease in beach attendance due to fears of the coronavirus.
Instead, the borough’s beach utility took in a record amount of revenue.
Councilman Randy Bonnell said he had heard from a number of residents that they were told no more season beach badges were available.
Mayor Larry Fox said that he understood there were 100 or so badges still available at Borough Hall and that others were being held “in abeyance.”
The council had been scheduled to introduce its 2021 budget at this week’s meeting, but the resolution was tabled at the recommendation of borough auditor Steven A. Wielkotz.
Wielkotz alerted the council to a provision in state law allowing municipalities to increase their surplus funds based on deferring the payment of school taxes until they are actually due.
Councilman Al Gubitosi said the borough has not taken advantage of the provision in a decade.
Gubitosi said the borough will be able to add $600,000 to the surplus total, bringing the amount to $2.8 million.
The 2021 budget is now scheduled for introduction at a special meeting Tues., May 4 at 2:30 p.m. Details on accessing the online meeting will be posted on the borough’s web site.
Also at its meeting this week, the council awarded a three-year contract for the beach concession at Brinley Avenue to Ocean Ave Ice Cream LLC of Neptune.
The borough advertised for bids on the concession twice and received no response. Borough Administrator David G. Brown II was then authorized to negotiate directly with potential operators.
Ocean Ave Ice Cream will pay $18,000 in the first year, $18,540 in the second, and $19,096 in the third year of the contract.
The council introduced a new version of its ordinance prohibiting cannabis sales as permitted by state law. A public hearing on the ordinance will take place at a future regular meeting.
The popularity of outdoor fire pits prompted the council to hold a workshop discussion on possible changes to borough ordinances which currently appear to prohibit open fires.
Gubitosi said the council wants to allow fire pits while establishing guidelines to protect public safety.
Following up on a comment by Fox concerning coronavirus vaccines for borough lifeguards, resident Thomas McGuire asked the mayor if the vaccines would be mandatory.
“We are making it available,” the mayor replied.
“So they don’t have to take it?” McGuire asked.
“I believe that’s correct,” Fox responded.