CEPD asks for tourist tax to nourish Captiva’s beaches
Last Wednesday, the Captiva Erosion Prevention District held its regular monthly meeting, where CEPD chairman Mike Mullins asked the board to consider a motion to pass a resolution he introduced which will add a penny to transient “bed taxes,” specifically for Captiva rental properties, to help fund future beach nourishments.
Commissioner Dave Jensen motioned to approve the resolution, which passed unanimously.
“Assuming that accommodation revenues are maintained at current levels, about $3 to 4 million will be collected from just one penny of Captiva-specific rental taxes over the typically eight year period between nourishments. Yet, this amount would almost double what Lee County contributed to Captiva’s beaches in the last island wide nourishment,” Mullins said.
The state Department of Revenue (DOR) willingly shares summary tax data by zip code, but Lee County refuses, claiming such data is confidential under the rules of the DOR. Extrapolation of state 6 percent sales tax data easily yields the allegedly “confidential” Lee County 5 percent “bed tax” summary data.
“Neighboring Collier County routinely posts their tourist data on the Collier CAC web site,” added CEPD administrator Kathy Rooker.
“Annual revenues for transient rentals on Captiva of approximately $48.3 million in 2008 fell almost 10 percent to $44.1 million in 2009. As well, combined rental taxes represent incremental taxes paid by 55 Captiva tax payers approximating about 25 percent of all other Captiva property taxes, (approximately $20 million annually),” Mullins said.
“About 10 percent of the bed taxes Lee County collected on Captiva rental properties are contributed back to Captiva for beach nourishments. While Lee County states they annually accumulate about $1.3 million from bed taxes towards all of Lee County beach nourishments; if accurate, it represents about half the bed taxes collected each year on just Captiva,” Mullins added.
Pointing out that the new baseball stadium gets about 20 percent of all Lee County bed taxes, Mullins said it is not too much to expect an amount equal to 20 percent of Captiva bed taxes going to support one of Captiva’s main sources of revenue, its beaches.
Mullins plans to continue negotiating with Lee County to gain fairness in the county’s sharing in the cost of Captiva’s beach nourishments.
“Given the declining availability of federal, state and county revenue sources for beach nourishments, Captiva must make greater provisions to maintain and nourish its own beaches,” Mullins said.
To learn more about the CEPD, call 472-2472.