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TDC upholds reallocation of beach and shoreline funds

By Staff | Dec 6, 2008

The Tourism Development Council upheld its decision to reallocate bed tax from their beach and shoreline fund to the new Red Sox stadium fund, a move designed to keep the baseball organization in Lee County for up to 30 years.
TDC members decided to move 6.6 percent from the beach and shoreline category but wanted to revisit the issue at another workshop in January.
The decision effectively cancels out a proposed reallocation made at a joint County Commission-TDC workshop on Tuesday, when TDC members suggested re-slicing the bed tax pie into 60 percent for marketing and advertising, 20 percent for beaches and shorelines, and 20 percent for the new stadium.
This new configuration keeps baseball at 20 percent, but lowers marketing and advertising to 53.6 percent, and raises beach and shorelines to 26.4 percent.
Chairwoman Tammy Hall, replacing Ray Judah, said she wanted another workshop to have more time to run some “hard” numbers, and to study the language of a Florida statute that dictates how bed tax money — and specifically bad tax increases — can be spent.
“There’s nothing worse than not being able to use the facts to make a decision,” Hall said.
The decision could go before the county commission as early as next Tuesday, when commissioners are expected to approve the 30-year lease of the new stadium.
The reallocation of 6.6 percent of beach and shoreline funds could change during the January workshop, though no official date has been set for the meeting.
Friday’s meeting — and ultimately the reallocation decision — was to “slow the train” down, according to several TDC members, who wanted time absorb the rash of information coming their way.
The 6.6 percent was a means by which to fulfill a pledge by county commissioners to the Red Sox for the 20 percent.
“Let’s slow this down a bit,” said TDC member Fran Myers. “I can’t grasp it all in my head. I just can’t grasp it that quick.”