DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. - Volusia County council members have scrapped a proposal to start charging non-residents $30 to drive on county beaches, opting for a $15 fee instead, but the proposal is not a done deal.
Council member Josh Wagner original proposed the $30 fee as a way to bridge the budget gap that has grown over the years when it comes to beach management and maintenance.
Volusia County beaches are among the only ones in the nation where cars are allowed to openly drive onto the beach.
"That's what makes it Daytona," said Grady Vann, of Volusia County. "It's the world's most famous beach. You can drive here, take 10 steps and be right out on the ocean. You can't do that anywhere else."
Many beachgoers park their cars on the beach, so they're just steps away from their coolers, beach toys or a place to cool off in the air conditioning.
Right now, Volusia County charges $5 for anyone to drive onto the beach, which has attracted tourists from around the nation.
Under the proposal, anyone from outside of Volusia County (according to the driver's license) would have to pay the increased $15 fee.
"I'm surprised that they haven't raised that before now," said Tracy Stanley, who is visiting Daytona Beach from Georgia. "As long as they don't get over $15 or $20, we'll be OK."
But some Volusia County residents, like Barbara Natali, say the fees should be higher for non-residents.
"It's just like going to another state, where you pay more because you're from out-of-state," she said. "It's OK with us. We'd rather them pay more. We pay taxes here."
The increase is still in the planning stages, and it still has many more hurdles to overcome before being implemented.
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