Though Belmar is expecting to pay more to repair its beachfront in the coming year, residents and visitors will be paying the same price for beach badges.
Faced with about $6.5 million in beachfront rebuilding after Hurricane Sandy, Belmar opted not to increase the cost of beach badges at its meeting Monday.
The resolution passed unanimously keeps all types of beach badges the same price.
Beach badges are $50 for a seasonal pass; $15 for seniors; $7 daily; free for children 15 and younger and active duty military and their families.
Earlier in December, mayor and council were debating whether to up the daily cost by a dollar and the seasonal pass to $55.
Mayor Matt Doherty credited the stall in prices to a far under estimated cost for the contract awarded to rebuild the boardwalk.
Belmar planned to spend $17 million to rebuild its boardwalk, destroyed in Hurricane Sandy. The borough approved a $6.59 million contract for Epic Construction to rebuild the boardwalk as it was, but with increased hurricane protection.
How to fund the project without increasing beach badge prices? Doherty said that a bond ordinance will front the cost, but 75 percent of the expense or more is expected to be reimbursed by FEMA. In addition, the borough is seeing an increase in the number of beach badges sold and has solicited donations as part of its "Buy a Board" campaign.
"Right now, we’re not looking to increase beach badge prices," said the mayor. "It looks like we will be able to maintain beach badge prices at same rate of last year."
However the borough still maintains it has the option to up prices before the tourist season begins.
"There is some flexibility between now and summer to change that," Doherty said.
The mayor said that would be an option only in necessary: "If it comes down to that decision. If need be"
Doherty said while towns such as Spring Lake now top $100 for seasonal beach badges, Belmar will likely maintain prices this year.
"Some other towns are definitely increasing their beach badges," said the mayor.
December sales have grown 70 percent over last year, showing yet another town's surging beach badge sales.