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Public Input Sought on Park Fees

The Board of Selectmen decided Thursday to seek public input on park fees for next year before they come up for a vote at their Dec. 16 meeting.

“It’s a very sensitive issue,” said First Selectman Peter Tesei said. “We want to be judicious in how we look at this and discuss this because, frankly, we live in a litigious society.”

In 2001, a lawsuit forced the town to open access to its beaches to non-residents. In 2008, the town expanded  ferry access. The move caused controversy, particularly regarding Island Beach, where residents complained of rowdiness from out-of-towners.

“I want to make sure that our residents don’t feel like they’re getting short-changed,” Selectman David Theis said to Parks and Recreation Director Joseph Siciliano,  who spoke before the board.

Siciliano said the Parks and Recreation department would provide a tentative fee schedule for next year and a breakdown of upkeep costs to run the ferry to Island Beach and Great Captains Island.

Park fees are one of the few budgeting issues where  selectmen have approval rights.

Be part of the conversation: what do you think about park fees for out-of-towners and the possibillity of fee increases in 2011?

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