Carioscia looks to serve on county Tourist Development Council
Cape Coral City Councilmember John Carioscia wants to make sure Lee County’s largest city to get its fair share of tourism dollars.
He will get an opportunity to better assure goal that now as the Lee County Board of County Commissioners has appointed him to the Lee County Tourist Development Council.
Carioscia replaces former mayor Marni Sawicki, who left the position after she chose not to seek re-election.
Among the things Carioscia plans to do is begin to evaluate funding requests. He plans to ask for all applications for money from the TDC. He said there are residents who have applied for TDC money, which comes largely from bed tax revenues collected on hotel and motel stays as well as short-term rentals, and he specifically wants to know who they are.
“I want to know where the monies are going. I’m doing my homework in that regard,” Carioscia said. “I’m also checking out about the millions of dollars they do have and how we can get what we might be able to use for upgrading our tourist areas. I’m new to this, but I’m hitting the ground running.”
Sun Splash Family Waterpark, the beach at the Cape Coral Yacht Club, and the city’s boat launches were among the areas Carioscia brought up as in-city amenities that could benefit.
Carioscia has knowledge of what the TDC does, as Council has been briefed for years on the goings on by Sawicki and former council members Rana Erbrick and Lenny Nesta, each of whom served in the time Carioscia has been in office.
“I don’t feel as if I’m taking a back seat to anyone. I’m going to be aggressive, and I’ll be in there doing what I can,” Carioscia said as he recovered from rotator-cuff surgery Friday.
Tamara Pigott, executive director of the Lee County Visitors & Convention Bureau, said Carioscia seems passionate about the city and is very inquisitive.
“He had a lot of great questions and very interested in the funding programs and how they benefit the community,” Pigott said. “He expressed a lot of interest in the key issues and he will be a great TDC member.”
The nine-member TDC was established by the County Commission in 1983 to increase off-season tourism to Lee County.
The TDC is a three-seat council consisting of a county commissioner, a representative from the top two bed-tax revenue collectors (Sanibel and Fort Myers Beach) and a rep from the other municipalities, (Cape Coral, Fort Myers, Bonita Springs and Estero) which rotate every two years.
Cape Coral has the seat currently, which it got in June and will hold until June 2019. Carioscia will be the third such representative since the seat rotated to Cape Coral.
After June 2019, Cape Coral will next get a seat in 2025.
Carioscia, now serving his second term on the Cape Coral City Council, is an 11-year resident of Cape Coral and is involved with the Cape Coral Civic Association, Cape Coral Sons of Italy and Cape Coral Police Association.
Carioscia is a retired Chicago police officer. He and his wife Judy have four adult children and four grandchildren.