Acting Mayor Joseph Solomon announced on Thursday afternoon that he would be suspending the approved plan to reinstitute beach fees at Warwick’s public beach facilities for the upcoming season.
“Our beaches are some of Warwick’s best recreational and environmental assets,” Solomon said in a press release. “My ultimate goal is to ensure that our beaches are clean for the enjoyment of our residents and out-of-town guests and to keep litter from polluting the Bay, without putting a possibly undue financial burden on beachgoers. Putting this program on hold will enable us to get a better grasp of any causal factors related to the litter that’s being generated and address the problem in a fiscally-responsible, effective, and multi-faceted way.”
The release indicates that Solomon made the decision partly due to “recent concerns expressed by residents over the initiative” and due to the fact that the FY19 budget recently submitted by former Mayor Scott Avedisian did not project revenues or expenditures related to the fee program.
“I cannot in good faith move forward with this program without definitive budget information,” Solomon said.
The release indicates that, in lieu of the fee program, the city will be looking at “restructuring of certain departmental functions and an analysis of how to streamline some municipal services is underway,” which “could likely free up additional resources for this purpose than have traditionally been allocated.”
The beach fees program was originally proposed last August by Ward 6 Councilwoman Donna Travis and was finalized and approved by a unanimous vote of the Warwick City Council back in December. It would have imposed fees at $20 per car for a season pass for Warwick residents and $40 per car for nonresidents, with senior discounts halving those amounts. Single visit fees would have been $5 for Warwick residents and $10 for nonresidents, again with senior discounts available.