Duxbury beach sticker sales are lagging a bit behind sales for the same time last year, but revenues are only off by five percent, town officials announced this week.
Through May 1, the town had sold 5,227 beach permits for all categories – parking lot and over-sand, resident, and non-resident and senior citizen. This is 717 fewer permits than were sold last year by May 1.
The biggest decreases are in resident and senior citizen parking lot stickers, but those stickers were not part of a discount program offered until May 1. Non-resident over sand stickers are down by only 56 while resident over-sand stickers are under last year’s mark by 48.
Town Manager René Read and Finance Director John Madden had been very concerned that sticker sales in 2014 would suffer if beach goers held back on buying their stickers, as they remembered the 30-plus days from June to July that Duxbury beach was closed to vehicles last summer. A record number of piping plovers nesting all over the barrier beach forced the town to close the beach to protect the birds and their chicks. The piping plover is a threatened shore bird species that is protected by federal law. They return annually to Duxbury beach to nest.
Madden said revenues collected from beach stickers as of May 1 totaled $903,455. This is $53,635 less than last year at the same time, or a 5.6 percent decrease.
He said he was “encour- aged” by these figures, adding that they are not far from the projections he had made for sticker sales.
“We’re doing well,” said Madden. “We’re keeping pace with last year’s numbers.”
This year, the town began selling beach stickers online for the first time. It offered over-sand stickers at last year’s prices if they were purchased before May 1 and raised the prices $20 for a resident sticker and $30 for a non-resident sticker after that date.
Currently, over-sand beach stickers cost $180 for a resident and $325 for a non- resident. Parking lot stickers for the walk-on beach at the end of the Powder Point bridge are only available to residents. They remain $90.
Madden said people were successfully using the on-line access to buy stickers but many were still buying them at town hall.
The beach is currently open. According to the town’s Endangered Species officer, there are between 15 to 16 pairs of piping plovers on the beach and two have made nests. Last year, at this time there were five plover nests.
Last June, the town closed the entire off-road vehicle section of Duxbury beach, most of the resident’s pedes- trian beach and much of the public bathing beach at Duxbury Beach Park from June until July because of a larger than usual number of piping plovers, which nested all over the beach.
The beach closure cost the town $110,000 in 2013 because it offered a one-time refund. Over 390 permit holders – mostly non-residents - took advantage of the refund.