The Sarasota County Board of County Commissioners has approved Town Manager Dave Bullock’s request to receive additional tourist tax funds for beach maintenance.
Bullock asked the commission at a joint meeting Sept. 17, for an additional 20% of the third penny in tourist tax dollars the county collects from visitors who rent hotel rooms or rentals.
Sarasota County uses a tourist development tax five-cent levy allocation system that distributes money to help pay for beach maintenance, beach renourishment, Ed Smith Stadium, an aquatic nature center, tourism promotion and the county’s arts-and-entertainment programs.
The commission agreed to the request, in part, because the county already distributes similar distributions to Sarasota County and the cities of Venice and Sarasota.
A presentation displayed to the County Commission stated: “Since the county reallocated 20% of the third penny for beach maintenance in all areas of the county except for Longboat Key, the town requests that 20% of the third penny collected in the town be allocated to Longboat Key for beach maintenance in the Sarasota County portion of Longboat Key.”
“It was simply an issue of fairness,” Bullock said.
Currently, the town received $324,131 in tourist development collections from Sarasota County in fiscal year 2012. The additional funds for Longboat Key beach maintenance would have totaled approximately $64,826 in fiscal year 2012.
Beach project hurdles, meanwhile, exist near New Pass and just south of the Key
According to a Sarasota County memo, the federal funding cap for dredging New Pass has been reached, and additional dredging of New Pass cannot proceed unless additional federal funding is secured. The city of Sarasota has been eyeing New Pass to get sand for a Lido Beach sand project. In addition, the memo states the amount of sand available at New Pass is not sufficient to match the volume eroded from Lido Beach.
— Additional reporting by Nolan Peterson
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