Councilors Scrap Senior Beach Fee

The Barrington Town Council rescinded the $10 fee for seniors amid a debate over whether anyone should pay to use the beach.

The $10 Barrington Beach fee for seniors has been rescinded.

The Town Council voted 4-0 with one abstention Monday night to rescind the fee that was established last spring.

The decision came after a rather lengthy discussion on two questions: Should everyone be required to pay for using the beach?  Or should no one pay?

Councilor Kate Weymouth, who abstained from voting, said everyone who benefits from the beach should pay something or nobody should pay a fee.

“There is an up-charge on everyone else,” she said, if one group is exempt.

Weymouth also said she wanted to wait to vote on the senior fee until after a new recreation director is in place. He or she might have some opinion on it, Weymouth said.

“We all pay taxes,” said Town Councilor Bill DeWitt. “Nobody should pay. Let’s manage it (beach) in the budget. Don’t burden non-seniors.”

Town Council Vice President Jeff Brenner, who suggested a senior beach fee last spring, repeated his contention that he recommended the fee because he believed some senior programming would be forthcoming from the Recreation Department and the Parks and Recreation Commission.

That type of programming has not happened, Brenner said, so he made the motion Monday night to rescind the fee.

“Maybe we should get rid of all fees?” said Town Council President June Speakman. “We can raise taxes.”

Recreation commission member Anthony Arico Jr., who has been pushing to rescind the fee, said he was very pleased that the Town Council made the decision it did.

Susan Tucker, who submitted several petitions to the Town Council at its July meeting to rescind the fee, thanked the council for its decision.

“We just want to enjoy the beach,” she said.

The $30 beach fee is expected to go on the October Town Council agenda for possible elimination as well.

Gary Morse September 12, 2012 at 12:44 PM
“Maybe we should get rid of all fees?” said Town Council President June Speakman. “We can raise taxes.” Respectfully Councilor Speakman, raising taxes can no longer be an option. There are some in town who can easily absorb the increase, but some who have already passed the point where any increase means taking it from another part of their limited budget. There are many things that can be done, but tops on my list is to stop subsidizing affordable housing and put some sanity back into town planning. Putting up high density low cost condo's and houses throughout town will drive taxes up, not down. If development is going to take place, it should be low density and able to carry a property tax that lowers the overall base. Personally, I would welcome a moratorium on development. How can this be done? Very simply: just read what ALL the RI laws say about affordable housing, not just the ones that favor your own opinion. Barrington's Town Planner and the town attorney have done a disservice to residents. That needs to be corrected. We need sanity back in our local government. Sincerely Gary Morse
Lorraine F September 12, 2012 at 01:23 PM
Barrington's government is fast becoming absurd, should I say insane. I attended Monday night's council meeting specifically to hear about the beach pass issue. Also on the agenda was a proposal for an unfunded municipal court where it was admitted, the council has no idea how much this will cost taxpayers. In the words of its supporters (Coyne, Speakman, Weymouth, Brenner) the new court would be a “huge convenience” for Barrington's lawbreakers. http://barrington.patch.com/articles/big-step-taken-toward-municipal-court So it appears Barrington's lawbreakers deserve more "convenience" than it's law abiding residents. Putting the issues side by side: convenience for those who break our laws in comparison to taxpayer enjoyment of a beach they pay property taxes to maintain, I cannot understand what is going on with our council. This unfunded municipal court should be last on a list of priorities. So why is it being rushed through, where the beach pass discussion was lowered to the council insulting residents who spoke out (watch the tape).
Pledgling September 13, 2012 at 09:43 AM
Leave the senior center as is. I never heard of a town that passes issues trying to pass the plastic bag ban AND implement it so she could get tenure, we are still going to be out of the loop when it comes to voting for the ordinance. IN my opinion, we don't need a Town Council. All they have been is trouble (for the most part) and working on their own agendas. How many people does it take to run a town of 16,000. JUST ONE as far as I am concerned.
Local Mom September 13, 2012 at 11:33 AM
Amen on all comments above. Is there a state oversight committee that we could call in to help the TC more clearly understand the RI Laws on affordable housing? The news about the Sowams devt is really disheartening. Separately, if all beach fees are dropped, 1) would beach still require resident pass, and 2) how to pay for lifeguards and gate staff? If all these things att he beach go away, wait til you see the number of plastic bags and other plastic detritus that appears there next summer! Could someone kindly publish the Town Council email addresses - I don't think they're on the town website, and getting to meetings not always feasible.


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