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VIEWS VARY BY ISLAND ON BEACH FEES

June 2, 2001 – This past week's polls — separate versions for St. Thomas, St. Croix and St. John — addressed the idea of fees at public beaches. St. Thomas has had them for years at Magens Bay, St. John got them a couple of years ago at Trunk Bay and there is talk of initiating them on St. Croix at Cramer's Park with the creation of a quasi-independent authority in charge, as is the case for Magens Bay.
The Magens Bay Authority has request no budget funding from the V.I. government for Fiscal Year 2002, because with the fee structure the operation is now self-sustaining.
Poll responses ranged widely from island to island. A majority of St. Thomas readers indicated they are comfortable with things as they are. In contrast, nearly two-thirds of St. John readers came out against residents having to pay, and nearly three-quarters of St. Croix readers said the same thing, almost half of them opposing the idea of introducing fees even for visitors on their island.
On St. Thomas and St. John, hardly anybody — a mere 9 votes out of 615 cast — thought current fees should be increased. St. Croix readers weren't asked that question, since the island has no fees at present. Instead, they had the option of saying fees are okay but won't make Cramer's Park self-sufficient, because the volume of island visitors is far less than that of Magens Bay. This drew the second-highest response in the St. Croix poll, after those who oppose any and all fees.
The idea of introducing fees at other major beaches wasn't popular anywhere, drawing 14 percent support on both St. Thomas and St. John and 7 percent on St. Croix.
Charging island visitors more and letting residents in free tied with "no fees" at 32 percent on St. John, but pulled support of just 9 percent on St. Thomas and 6 percent on St. Croix.
Here are the poll questions and response figures:
St. Thomas — Magens Bay is the only beach on St. Thomas that charges admission: $3 for visitors over 12, $1 for residents over 12, $.25 for children 12 and under, and $1 per vehicle; or a monthly pass for residents that's $15 in general and $6 for senior citizens and covers immediate family in the holder's vehicle. Because of the fees, the operation is financially self-sufficient. Which of the following best reflects your feelings about this?
1. The fees are reasonable and justified. 219 = 60 percent
2. The fees should be higher. 8 = 2 percent
3. Visitors should be charged more and residents should get in free. 34 = 9 percent
4. All of the fees should be eliminated. 53 = 14 percent
5. Similar fees should be introduced at other major beaches, too. 52 = 14 percent
Total votes 366
St. Croix — Sen. Alicia "Chucky" Hansen wants a semi-autonomous authority to operate Cramer's Park as the Magens Bay Authority runs that St. Thomas beach. There, admission fees ($1 per resident, $4 per visitor, $1 per vehicle, $.25 per child) cover operating costs. Which of the following best reflects your feelings about this on St. Croix?
1. It's a workable idea, and similar fees at Cramer's Park are fine. 31 = 15 percent
2. Similar fees are fine, but Cramer's Park lacks the visitor volume of Magens Bay and can't generate enough revenue to be self-sufficient. 55 = 26 percent
3. Visitors should be charged higher fees and residents should get in free. 13 = 6 percent
4. There should be no fees for Cramer's Park. 99 = 47 percent
5. It's a good idea and similar fees should be introduced at other major St. Croix beaches, too. 14 = 7 percent
Total St. Croix votes = 212
St. John — Trunk Bay is the only beach on St. John that charges a user fee: $4 for anyone over 16, or $15 for an annual family pass. The fee includes access to the Annaberg ruins on the same day of payment. (It's also $4 on another day.) These V.I. National Park fees are to cover the use of showers and changing rooms and access to the gift shop, watersports concession and snack bar. Which of the following best reflects your feelings about this?
1. The fees are reasonable and justified. 7 = 19 percent
2. The fees should be higher. 1 = 3 percent
3. Visitors should be charged more and residents should get in free. 12 = 32 percent
4. All of the fees should be eliminated. 12 = 32 percent
5. Similar fees should be introduced at other major V.I. National Park beaches, too. 5 = 14 percent
Total St. John votes 37
This is not intended to be a scientific poll. But we feel that, as a rough gauge of how Source readers feel about issues confronting the territory, the results are interesting and worth considering. And we hope that you will consider voting in this week's poll and those to come.

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June 2, 2001 - This past week's polls -- separate versions for St. Thomas, St. Croix and St. John -- addressed the idea of fees at public beaches. St. Thomas has had them for years at Magens Bay, St. John got them a couple of years ago at Trunk Bay and there is talk of initiating them on St. Croix at Cramer's Park with the creation of a quasi-independent authority in charge, as is the case for Magens Bay.
The Magens Bay Authority has request no budget funding from the V.I. government for Fiscal Year 2002, because with the fee structure the operation is now self-sustaining.
Poll responses ranged widely from island to island. A majority of St. Thomas readers indicated they are comfortable with things as they are. In contrast, nearly two-thirds of St. John readers came out against residents having to pay, and nearly three-quarters of St. Croix readers said the same thing, almost half of them opposing the idea of introducing fees even for visitors on their island.
On St. Thomas and St. John, hardly anybody -- a mere 9 votes out of 615 cast -- thought current fees should be increased. St. Croix readers weren't asked that question, since the island has no fees at present. Instead, they had the option of saying fees are okay but won't make Cramer's Park self-sufficient, because the volume of island visitors is far less than that of Magens Bay. This drew the second-highest response in the St. Croix poll, after those who oppose any and all fees.
The idea of introducing fees at other major beaches wasn't popular anywhere, drawing 14 percent support on both St. Thomas and St. John and 7 percent on St. Croix.
Charging island visitors more and letting residents in free tied with "no fees" at 32 percent on St. John, but pulled support of just 9 percent on St. Thomas and 6 percent on St. Croix.
Here are the poll questions and response figures:
St. Thomas -- Magens Bay is the only beach on St. Thomas that charges admission: $3 for visitors over 12, $1 for residents over 12, $.25 for children 12 and under, and $1 per vehicle; or a monthly pass for residents that's $15 in general and $6 for senior citizens and covers immediate family in the holder's vehicle. Because of the fees, the operation is financially self-sufficient. Which of the following best reflects your feelings about this?
1. The fees are reasonable and justified. 219 = 60 percent
2. The fees should be higher. 8 = 2 percent
3. Visitors should be charged more and residents should get in free. 34 = 9 percent
4. All of the fees should be eliminated. 53 = 14 percent
5. Similar fees should be introduced at other major beaches, too. 52 = 14 percent
Total votes 366
St. Croix -- Sen. Alicia "Chucky" Hansen wants a semi-autonomous authority to operate Cramer's Park as the Magens Bay Authority runs that St. Thomas beach. There, admission fees ($1 per resident, $4 per visitor, $1 per vehicle, $.25 per child) cover operating costs. Which of the following best reflects your feelings about this on St. Croix?
1. It's a workable idea, and similar fees at Cramer's Park are fine. 31 = 15 percent
2. Similar fees are fine, but Cramer's Park lacks the visitor volume of Magens Bay and can't generate enough revenue to be self-sufficient. 55 = 26 percent
3. Visitors should be charged higher fees and residents should get in free. 13 = 6 percent
4. There should be no fees for Cramer's Park. 99 = 47 percent
5. It's a good idea and similar fees should be introduced at other major St. Croix beaches, too. 14 = 7 percent
Total St. Croix votes = 212
St. John -- Trunk Bay is the only beach on St. John that charges a user fee: $4 for anyone over 16, or $15 for an annual family pass. The fee includes access to the Annaberg ruins on the same day of payment. (It's also $4 on another day.) These V.I. National Park fees are to cover the use of showers and changing rooms and access to the gift shop, watersports concession and snack bar. Which of the following best reflects your feelings about this?
1. The fees are reasonable and justified. 7 = 19 percent
2. The fees should be higher. 1 = 3 percent
3. Visitors should be charged more and residents should get in free. 12 = 32 percent
4. All of the fees should be eliminated. 12 = 32 percent
5. Similar fees should be introduced at other major V.I. National Park beaches, too. 5 = 14 percent
Total St. John votes 37
This is not intended to be a scientific poll. But we feel that, as a rough gauge of how Source readers feel about issues confronting the territory, the results are interesting and worth considering. And we hope that you will consider voting in this week's poll and those to come.