The Middletown (R.I.) Town Council has voted against a $2,000 increase in the seasonal fee for the Second Beach Family Campground on Sachuest Point Road.

For now, the seasonal fee at the Second Beach Family Campground in Middletown, R.I., will not be increased.

The town council deadlocked with a 3-3 vote on a proposal to increase the seasonal fee by $2,000 this summer, and another $2,000 next summer, at the campground on Sachuest Point Road, according to the Newport Daily News.

The vote now sends local leaders back to the drawing board about what changes to make — if any — at the campground and nearby Sachuest Beach.

“We are a community that depends on the tourist economy,” council member Barbara VonVilla said. “We must value what it gives us and not abuse it because we can. There is right and there is wrong. I believe that the campground fees should be increased as they have been in previous years, but an increase of $4,000 over two years is — to use the trite expression — highway robbery.”

Normally not the topic of much discussion in the off season, the campground has been in the news a lot over the past month. The conversations began after a council subcommittee studying Sachuest Beach proposed a plan to close the campground and turn it into a “resident-only” parking lot.

That was one of about six dozen recommendations from the subcommittee led by council Vice President Paul Rodrigues, and council members Rick Lombardi and M. Theresa Santos.

The study came about after issues were raised with the perceived “looseness” of the beach operation last summer, and theft of more than $6,300 and 1,000 parking stickers from staff offices during a mid-July break-in. No arrests have been made in that case.

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