WILDWOOD — Thanks to an agreement between the city and the island’s tourism authority the Beach Blast soccer tournaments and the Beach Jam camping event scheduled to take place this summer in Wildwood will go on as planned.
Morey’s Piers President Will Morey had said he would move the events out of the city if some agreement could not be reached on the city’s beach event fees.
Those fees were recently changed by the city because city officials said the costs associated with holding those and other beach events had become a burden to city taxpayers.
Greater Wildwoods Tourism Improvement and Development Authority Chairman Tom Byrne said Tuesday that under the agreement all the beach events would remain in Wildwood and the tourism authority would pay the city $45,000 to help defray some of those costs. In addition, Morey’s Piers, which paid $70,000 last year to the city for costs related to those events, would pay the same amount in 2014.
Byrne said the city would rescind its current beach fee resolution, a move Morey said was needed to keep the events in Wildwood. He had suggested they could be moved to neighboring Wildwood Crest and North Wildwood. Under that resolution, events would be billed on a per-person basis. An event drawing 1,501 people , for instance, would pay $2 per person.
The city will instead revert to its previous fee schedule, which charged per event. For instance, an event lasting two days and one night cost $1,500.
Under the plan, the tourism authority would use Tourism Development Fees, known as TDFs, collected from island businesses to reimburse the city this year “for the fees that would have been collected had the resolution remained in place,” Byrne said in a press release.
Byrne, Executive Director John Siciliano and Mayor Ernie Troiano Jr. reached the agreement Tuesday and Troiano has agreed to recommend that his fellow commissioners vote to rescind the resolution at their next regularly scheduled meeting, on April 23.
“This was never not going to work out,” Troiano said of his belief that negotiations were bound to resolve the dispute.
He said the city will receive $45,000 this year and that he would like to see a long-term plan developed for 2015 and beyond so that future event schedules are not disrupted.
On Saturday, Morey issued a letter saying the events would be moved if some agreement was not reached by April 16. Troiano responded in his own letter Monday. The Business Improvement District also issued its own letter urging a resolution to prevent the events and the business they bring to the town from leaving.
Byrne said he has reached out to the event hosts, the Morey Organization and Cape Express Soccer, and asked them to wait until the April 23 meeting before taking any further action toward moving these events.
“GWTIDA is working on a long term solution to event support for all of the island municipalities and expects to present a plan in the fourth quarter of 2014, and implement the strategy for the 2015 event season,” said Byrne.
Will Morey said in a statement Tuesday that his organization is pleased with the agreement.
“We are in full support of this agreement as it not only allows all of our beach events to stay in Wildwood, but it also helps to secure numerous other beach events,” he said.
Morey also thanked Wildwood Crest and North Wildwood for “being open to hosting many of our beach events in the event that an agreement was not reached, and for their leadership in helping to bring all parties together to develop an appropriate funding plan for the major island wide beach events for the 2014 season.”
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