Monday, May 9, 2011

Long Branch to Charge Youths Beach Access Fee, Council Woman Recommends Violating Child Labor Law

In years past, youths under 18 were permitted access to the [public] beach in Long Branch (a City that receives state and federal aide for beach replenishment projects, UEZ funding, Abbott school funding... a nice long list of handouts) for free.

In fact, a report from the NJ DEP under Corzine and Incompetent Lisa Jackson regarding the Public Trust Doctrine says on page 27:
Local regulatory authorities have the responsibility to address public access and
can do so in a variety ways.
...
Responsibilities:
...
Allow children to obtain access to municipally-owned land along tidal
waterways and their shores free of charge
So this year, the Long Branch City Council will be charing those 14-17 a daily beach access fee of $3/day, $30/season citing the cost to maintain the beach and the property tax cap in place that prevents them from raising taxes, and thus shirking that "Responsibility".
In fairness, that same document says that children are those under age 12, I guess we should be thankful?

In 2007, City of Long Branch raised $645,262.80 in beach badge sales, anticipated revenue was $375,00.
In 2008, City of Long Branch raised $784,845.45 in beach badge sales, anticipated revenue was $625,00.
In 2009, City of Long Branch raised $979,175.04 in beach badge sales, anticipated revenue was $700,000.
In 2010, City of Long Branch raised $1,303,020.04 in beach badge sales, anticipated revenue was $979,175.



In 2011, City of Long Branch municipal budget anticipates bringing in "only" $1,250,000, a drop for the first time in years I have data available for... seems dubious. I can only presume that the City Council is hoping to deter families from going to beach with their children, accounting for the loss in revenue? Or maybe since the beach badge claims to require ID, maybe they will be checking that those on the beach are LEGAL US Citizens and not just holding a Cracker Jack box ID?

Further, the City Council is raising existing fees, and adding the new $3 fee for youths, citing costs to operate the beach DESPITE BEACH REVENUE HAVING MORE THAN DOUBLED SINCE 2007!

So what does our "Republican" Councilwoman, and one of my fellow Republican Committee members, Joy Bastelli have to say about this?

Councilwoman Bastelli - "I think that many children in Long Branch, if they cant get a formal job, they certainly can cut grass, they certainly can baby sit." -- April 26, 2011 City Council Meeting.

The problem? Illegal in NJ -- HAVE A READ! Department of Labor and Workforce Development says:
12:58-3.2 Power driven machinery

(a) Minors under 16 years of age shall not be employed, permitted or suffered to work in, about, or in connection with power-driven machinery.

(b) "Power driven machinery" shall include:
  1. Power tools, including but not limited to, power lawn mowers, power woodworking and metal working tools.
Just to drive the point home a little more -- According to a U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission report, about 16,200 children younger than 19 were treated in doctors’ offices, clinics and emergency rooms for lawnmower-related injuries in 2007. Maybe we should keep the kids off of the lawn mowers and send them to the beach.... ohh wait, right, got it.

No that it would make up millions, or hundreds of thousands, but do take note that the City of Long Branch is still paying for pagers/cell phones for most City employees, including the police department, even though they spent $4m last year on an upgraded radios for the department so that officers wouldn't need cell phones and would have good radio coverage city wide.

Mostly, I'm just curious how our costs of maintenance have more than doubled since the city is not supposed to charge/receive more than it costs to maintain and operate the beaches. And I'm sure I'll get the nasty email or talk to from someone explaining why I'm wrong and why I don't have the facts straight, or twisted to their perspective.

PS - So maybe I am a bridge burner... I expect my party and those claiming to represent it to do "better"... and "better" in this case means not charging youths to use public beach space... or you can always stop with the age discrimination and charge them the $5s to get on the beach and grant the 14-17 years olds the right to vote, see how that works out for you.

1 comment:

Art Gallagher said...

Well, there's always the non-power mowers I used as a kid back in the 20th century. :-)

I wonder how the Landscapers in the Long Branch area feel about the councilwomans idea. Who cares, really, they properly employ illegal immigrants.