Wildwood wants $45k for ice cream licenses

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Veteran: No negotiation offered on peddling contracts

WILDWOOD—The city has allegedly asked its beach peddlers, mostly veterans, to pay five times as much for their licenses this year, or Wildwood will put a beach peddling contract out to bid.

Richard Basara, a Marine veteran and Wildwood resident who has sold ice cream on the beach for several years, says he isn’t happy with the proposal.

According to Basara, the city has said that if the 15 peddlers don’t come up with a total of $45,000 in license fees, a contract for ice cream beach peddling will be put out to bid as early as Wednesday, Feb. 26.

Most of those with beach peddling licenses are veterans.

The city has argued that other shore towns, such as Wildwood Crest, see upward of $100,000 from ice cream peddling contracts, and Wildwood should be receiving a comparable amount.

“There’s at least six of us that live in town that are taxpayers,” Basara said. “We have a voice too. We need to keep this for the next generation of veterans who come in.”

Basara said that the city wants a total of $45,000 in revenue from the beach peddling licenses, or about $3,000 a peddler. Right now, the peddlers pay about $500 in licensing fees to the city, so this would be a 500 percent increase.

When some veterans and city officials sat down for a meeting Thursday, Feb. 20, Basara said the veterans were going to offer $1,000 for the licenses- but, he said the city was not looking to negotiate.

“There is no negotiating on their part. They want an answer by Monday, so they can bring it up at the next commissioner’s meeting,” he said.

If the licensing fees are raised to $3,000, Basara said about six peddlers, including him, won’t be able to afford them.

Commissioner Pete Byron did not immediately return phone calls for comment on Monday, Feb. 24. However, he has said that the city needs to work to bring in more revenue to offset local taxes.

“We want to try to take care of our veterans, but at the end of the day, we still have to have the interest of all the taxpayers in mind,” he said earlier this month.

According to Byron, about $150,000 in additional revenue will take 1 cent off the local purpose tax rate.

The next Board of Commissioners meeting is 3:30 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 26, after the Leader’s deadline for print. See thewildwoodleader.com for updates on this story.

Email Christie Rotondo at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it or comment on this story at thewildwoodleader.com. 

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