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New Beach Fees For Everyone

The Town Council raises the Barrington Beach pass fee to $30 and sets a $10 fee for senior citizens for the first time.

Barrington Beach-goers will pay a higher fee this summer. And senior citizens will pay to use the beach for the first time.

The Town Council approved on Monday night a recommendation from the Parks and Recreation Commission to raise the beach-pass fee from $20 to $30. The vote was 4-1 with Bill DeWitt casting the dissenting vote.

The town councilors then went one step further and set a $10 fee for anyone over the age of 65 to use the beach. The vote was 3-2 with Town Council President June Speakman and DeWitt voting against the motion.

“It seems to me that $30 is a pretty good deal,” said Speakman in supporting the boost from $20.

“I think they (seniors) should pay something,” said Town Council Vice President Jeff Brenner, who actually suggested a $15 fee for seniors – half the cost of the beach pass for everyone else.

The recreation commission recommended the first increase in the beach-pass fee since 2008 because it expects the cost of maintenance will increase this year with a new bathhouse and other improvements to the beach.

Ed McKinlay, vice chairman of the commission, said: “It seems proper at this time to raise the fee.”

The commission voted not to charge seniors to use the beach in the same recommendation to hike the fee to $30.

Town Manager Peter DeAngelis Jr. said the Town Council needed to look at the beach-fee boost entirely as a revenue generator, even though “I suspect the cost of maintenance will increase slightly.”

“We will maintain the beach no matter what,” he said. “This is an issue on the revenue side of the budget.”

DeWitt said he opposed the increase because taxpayers already paid to build a new bathhouse.

“It was built with no intention of raising fees,” he said.

Recreation Director John Taylor said the new revenue from the fee increase can be used to build more beach programs.

“I’m trying to add more activities at the beach,” he said.

DeAngelis said he expects the beach “to be a better product this year” with the addition of more activities.

DeWitt suggested giving the beach a year to prove it is a better product.

“I am hesitant to say we have a better product without a year of experience,” he said.

It only took a minute or so after the Town Council voted to boost the beach fee that Brenner suggested the senior fee. McKinlay said the Parks and Recreation Commission supported keeping the senior fee at zero.

Frances Palazzo April 03, 2012 at 12:21 PM
I'm a senior and thought that I might give the beach another try this year because of the new bath house. I have paid Barrington taxes for more than 50 years, supporting every school improvement. After all these years of paying taxes, the town council wants yet another $10 from me so I can go sit on a beach?
Moses April 03, 2012 at 04:13 PM
The truly amazing story here is that residents will pay to go to a beach that is closed yearly for fecal contamination. Even after the water is deemed "acceptable", the sand is still contaminated.
Bill April 03, 2012 at 06:21 PM
A new bathhouse that requires more maintenance than an old one.....hmmmmm....ok. Good excuse as any to raise the fees I guess. I would rather them raise the fees for the people that use the beach then raise taxes. Also Comparing Narragansett, or Westerly beaches to Barrington beach???
Pam April 03, 2012 at 09:31 PM
I hope this means that the town will now NOT be allowing nonresidents to use the beach. As I said before, I'd rather pay more than allow the beach to become more crowded. And again, Bill DeWitt is right on target with his comment that he opposes raising the fees because residents already paid to build the new bathhouse. During all the discuss about whether or not to build the bathhouse, I don't recall it being mentioned that fees would have to be raised to maintained to maintain it. I feel that this is something that should have been part of that discussion.
Joanne Duval April 06, 2012 at 01:23 PM
Did anyone expect anything other than fees being raised, more "Taylor-time" and less "other improvements".....so far the only improvement, if you can call it that, is the new potty/director's office that was built. And if I remember correctly, the taxpayers didn't pay for the potty (DeWitt said he opposed the increase because taxpayers already paid to build a new bathhouse)...wasn't it bond money? With the fee increase, let's make sure that those checking for stickers and collecting the fees are consistently turning away those that are not residents, if that is going to be the final decision. And DON'T tell them to go park up in the neighborhoods!
Rod June 11, 2012 at 08:18 PM
Although I have paid the $30 fee, wouldn't it be fair to allow residents who might use two cars which we do depending on someone away out of town or on errands etc. to have the 2nd one for less as long as they bring the 2nd car and show registration just as they did the first car. Makes NO sense why I had to pay $60 for 2 cars.
Pam June 12, 2012 at 11:27 AM
I agree that there should be some way for families to get stickers for a second car, without having to pay twice.
Pam June 12, 2012 at 11:31 AM
You make a very good point about beach attendants being consistent in turning away non-residents. I know that this is not the case. Not all the attendants follow the rules. Especially when a nonresident gives them a hard time about having been allowed in in the past. It's difficult for a teen to stand up to an angry adult who is giving them a hard time. But it is completely unfair that residents are paying $30 to use their own beach and belligerent nonresidents bully their way into using it for free. Something should be done about that. Maybe better signage at the gate.

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