Revenue from beaches in the Jersey Shore area dropped by more than $4 million this summer, compared with revenue from last year. Analysts said that it is improbable for Jersey Shore to recoup the money by the end of the long Labor Day weekend.
The drop in revenue showed that the Jersey Shore, where communities charge as high as $10 per day for access to their beaches, is still feeling the impact of Superstorm Sandy 10 months after it hit. Ocean and Monmouth counties’ beach sales were down $4.1 million even after they spent $25 million on a federal tourism advertising campaign. Ocean County dropped 25 percent, which was more than Monmouth County’s 10 percent fall.
Some towns suffered a significant decline. Toms River’s sales dropped 84 percent to $125,000 from $782,673. Brick’s sales fell 58 percent to $190,230 from $457,728. Toms River Business Administrator Paul J. Shives said that he was not surprised by the sales because they only opened a third of the beach. He said that there were homes being demolished near the beachfront and they had to allow room for demolition and construction.
Jersey Shore officials blamed Sandy’s devastation of the area as well as summer season’s wet start for the drop in sales. Toms River and Brick got the biggest losses among the towns that provided revenue numbers.
When Sandy hit the area in late October of 2012, it destroyed 300 homes in the Ortley Beach section of Toms River and damaged around 2,800 other properties. Township officials have budgeted for a $150,000 in beach revenue in 2013.
Sandy damaged around 8,500 homes in Brick County. Its officials lowered their revenue estimates to $250,000 in 2013 from $400,000 last year. Brick Mayor Stephen Acropolis said that they knew summer revenues were going to be down due to Sandy and the tax base.