The view of the City of Long Beach boardwalk and...

The view of the City of Long Beach boardwalk and beach on July 1, 2019. Credit: Newsday/John Keating

The City of Long Beach is raising the prices of individual and family beach passes by up to $30 for the upcoming summer season.

City Council members voted 3-2 at the May 3 meeting to increase summer beach fees for residents and visitors after city officials said they needed to offset the $5 million annual cost to maintain the beach. Councilmembers Roy Lester and Tina Posterli voted against raising prices.

The city has not said when beach passes may go on sale in person while waiting for a vendor, or when beach passes may go on sale online. The city begins charging for admission to the beach on Memorial Day weekend and continues charging during the following weekends until passes are required every day from mid-June through Labor Day.

Council members said they needed to raise fees to offset costs such as for daily maintenance, special summer police officers, lifeguards, and ticket takers as well as to pay off capital improvement debts taken out for such things as the lifeguard headquarters and renovations to bathrooms on the boardwalk.

“When you look at the revenues and expenses, the beach is not breaking even,” City Comptroller Inna Reznik said. “If we want to get closer to breaking even, we need to increase prices of the beach.”

Season passes for individual residents between 18 and 61 will cost $85 with proof of residency, and a resident family pass for two adults and any children will cost $115. Individual senior and teen passes will cost $30. Children 12 and under are allowed on the beach for free.

Individual visitor season passes will cost $170 each while visitor family passes will cost $230. Teens and senior visitor passes cost $60.

Daily beach passes will remain unchanged for residents and visitors at $12 for residents and $15 for visitors.

“The sentiment was that we’re already expensive enough and if we raise ... [the prices of daily passes] any more, they’ll go somewhere else,” said City Councilman John Bendo, who voted for the increases.

City Council members also voted 3-2 to approve a twilight pass for $6 for beach access from 4 to 6 p.m. for residents and visitors before lifeguards go off duty. Some council members supported the pass to draw revenue and reduce the risk of drownings from people going into the water after hours.

Lester was opposed to raising the prices of beach passes because he could not determine the range of expenses of maintaining the beach.

“I still don’t understand why the beach park is costing us $5.1 million and why it’s so expensive,” Lester said.

Bendo said the cost of a family pass increase was the equivalent of an $87 tax increase on every homeowner in the city.
“It would still require us to bump up the tax increase,” Bendo said. “The residents of Long Beach would be effectively subsidizing the nonresidents who use our beach and boardwalk facilities.”

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