$1 surcharge to pay for new Horseneck Beach improvement fund

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WESTPORT — A $1 surcharge on entrance fees collected at Horseneck Beach will help pay for a new trust fund set up to protect and maintain Horseneck Beach.

News of the trust fund was delivered to the Board of Selectmen recently by state Sen. Michael Rodrigues and Rep. Paul Schmid.

The money, says the legislation signed by Gov. Deval Patrick, will be used "without further appropriation, for the long-term preservation, maintenance, nourishment and public safety of Horseneck Beach in the town of Westport."

Mr. Rodrigues said he has pushed for such a fund for awhile. The beach will benefit, he said, by having money available for improvements or repairs without the need to go back to the legislature every time with requests. He estimated that the $1 surcharge could provide $57,000 a year to the fund although he also cautioned that changes could still be made during the budget process.

The fund and fee go into effect Jan. 1, and brings the beach parking fee from $7 to $8, still less than is charged at ocean beaches in nearby Middletown and Newport, RI.

Similar funds are already in place for Salisbury Beach and Nantasket Beach in Massachusetts.

Unspent fund money can be carried over to the next fiscal year but deficit spending within the fund is not permitted.

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