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Cape May Committee to Do ‘Deep Dive’ Into Beach Utility Finances

Cape May Committee to Do ‘Deep Dive’ Into Beach Utility Finances

By Vince Conti

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CAPE MAY – An advisory committee to the City Council will be doing a routine “deep dive” into the city’s beach utility this year, a member of the committee told the council on Feb. 20.

Martin Van Walsum, a member of the Municipal Taxation and Revenue Advisory Committee, told the council that the committee would pay special attention to analysis of the revenue, expenses and responsibilities of the utility, which operated with a $3.4 million budget in 2023. Some $2.7 million of its revenue came from the sale of beach tags.

The utility covers the cost of lifeguards and beach tag personnel. It also contributes to the city’s general fund to cover the cost of city services and resources dedicated to the city’s beaches.

Van Walsum said that the committee had read a story in the Herald on Sea Isle City’s proposed use of digital beach tags. He said the committee would be looking at the option for Cape May as part of its review.

The advisory committee has played a role with city government that is relatively unique among county municipalities. It is a largely a citizen-based think tank that looks broadly at the city’s finances and recommends actions to the governing body.

In the past, analysis and recommendations from the group have been instrumental in the city’s adoption of an occupancy tax for short-term rentals, the refining of employee salary policy, a more comprehensive look at low-speed vehicles in the city as well as plans for electric charging stations, and general cost recovery from the city’s three self-financing utilities, among other efforts.

Contact the author, Vince Conti, at vconti@cmcherald.com.

Reporter

Vince Conti is a reporter for the Cape May County Herald.

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