One of the three ordinances introduced at City Council's March 15 meeting is aimed at boosting tourism and economic development on the island.

Ordinance 10 would make it necessary for all property owners who rent to tenants for less than 175 days to acquire a short-term rental license for a proposed fee of $100. The license would be valid for one year, from Jan. 1 through Dec. 31, and require the property owner to meet all rental inspection requirements, and be current with all property taxes, water-and-sewer fees and other municipal assessments.

The idea for the newly proposed licence came from a Brigantine Economic Development Commission meeting, of which Mayor Phil Guenther, Deputy Mayor Andy Simpson and 2nd Ward Councilman Mike Riordan are members. The proposed ordinance received unanimous approval March 15 and will likely be up for final adoption at council's April 5 meeting.

The license fees collected this year would go toward a general fund, said city manager Ed Stinson, until a budget and formal advisory committee is established for how the revenue is to be used next year.

“This would allow for the city of Brigantine to market the island and develop a tourism plan in conjunction with the Chamber of Commerce and other stakeholders, and to hopefully bring more visitors to the island,” said Guenther. “As we know from past experience, more summer visitors often turn into either seasonal or year-round residents and can have a positive impact on property values through tourism.”

Guenther said he has already been hearing positive reports of a brisk demand for summer rentals from island real estate agents.

“I'm hearing that we are doing very well in terms of rentals for the upcoming summer season,” said the mayor. “It is the consensus opinion from everyone on the commission that it is time we have a bigger presence in that marketing, since we have very few hotel rooms in Brigantine but we do have a lot of short-term rentals.”

He said the new license fee is nominal compared with other shore towns that have a similar fee.

“We don't want to create a burden to those who use their properties for short-term rentals,” he said. “This is a conservative fee – other municipalities have something similar in place and most of those are higher than $100.”

Councilman Rick Delucry said that as well as allowing Brigantine to boost revenue for tourism and economic development, it should serve the dual benefit of making certain that Brigantine's housing stock and rental units are up to standard.