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TDC dilemma to go before Council Monday

By Staff | Feb 25, 2012

The Cape Coral City Council on Monday will discuss the Tourist Development Council and what a bill in the State Senate might do to the TDC’s makeup and how it could affect Cape Coral.

District 3 councilman and TDC board member Lenny Nesta will speak about the future of the TDC board at City Hall and how the bill brought forward by Sen. Garrett Richter (R-Naples) could change Cape Coral’s function on it.

“I’m just going to present the county proposal and give the Council a heads up of what’s coming,” Nesta said. “Everything is open for discussion.”

The bill (SB 1274) has been pulled from discussion in Tallahassee for this legislative session, never even getting a hearing from any legislative committee when the county interceded, Nesta said.

That gives the TDC a year to figure out how to progress, Nesta said.

“The bill stands pat until they’re back in session next year,” Nesta said. “It will still be talked about.”

Currently, the TDC has a board which includes a commissioner, a member from the largest municipality (Cape Coral) and a third member that rotates yearly among Sanibel, Fort Myers Beach, Fort Myers and Bonita Springs, along with six members who are in the tourism business.

But if Richter’s amendment (SB 1274) passes, it could bring in two new members, one determined by the bed tax dollars they bring in, with the other being someone from the tourist industry.

It could also give the Lee County TDC the option to leave the membership at nine and make Cape Coral give its seat to the municipality bringing in the most bed tax dollars, Sanibel.

Cape Coral would then have to settle for a seat that rotates yearly among Fort Myers, Fort Myers Beach and Bonita Springs.

TDC chairman John Manning said he is considering both options.

The Richter ordinance is written for counties of greater than 600,000 people with fewer than six municipalities, which is believed to specifically target Lee County.

But with a whole year before it comes up again, Nesta isn’t too concerned and doesn’t expect an uproar from the council.

“It’s not a big discussion point. The bill never got to the floor,” Nesta said.