CEPD to send out formal requests for bed tax figures
The Captiva Erosion Prevention District’s commission approved a draft letter requesting bed tax information from the state and county at its recent meeting, as well as heard about ongoing projects.
On April 13, Administrator Joe Wagenti and attorney Ralf Brookes presented the letter for consideration to serve as an official request from the CEPD for the “annual and monthly statistics showing the total amount of tourist development tax revenue generated on Captiva Island.”
Addressed to the Lee County Clerk, Florida Chief Financial Officer and Florida Department of Revenue, it outlines the CEPD’s role as a special district overseeing beach renourishment, restoration and erosion control, adding that part of the bed tax funds maintained by the county goes to that.
The letter continues that the tax is assessed on rentals of six months or less, and Captiva contains in excess of 500 or more units and over 100 taxpayers, generating a large portion of the tax locally.
In the letter, the CEPD requests the statistics on the total bed tax revenue generated annually by the island for the previous 10 years, along with the monthly tax generated over the past four years.
“This information is needed by CEPD as a project partner for use in economic impact benefit analysis, planning and budgeting for future years, and with grant applications and requests for local, state and federal partnership funding for future beach renourishment and erosion control projects,” it states.
During discussion about the draft letter, Chairman Mike Mullins explained that the county once provided the bed tax breakdown for Captiva, then stopped doing so years ago, despite being asked for the information. He questioned Wagenti on whether staff had received a recent response from it.
“Basically the same thing they’ve always done,” Wagenti said, explaining that the county again declined to provide the figures like in recent years. “They were citing a (Florida) statute.”
The commission voted unanimously 5-0 to approve the draft document.
Wagenti reported that staff will now proceed with mailing out the letter.
Also during the meeting, Wagenti brought up the CEPD’s contract with engineering firm APTIM regarding the upcoming beach renourishment project. He explained that he wants to include it as part of a grant request for funding from the Lee County Tourist Development Council as it looks eligible.
Wagenti noted that he received a letter from the county attorney confirming its eligibility.
He continued that the funding, if approved, would be for fiscal year 2020-21 and available as of October. Wagenti, however, questioned whether the TDC funds could be used prior to Oct. 1. He asked for a delay on proceeding with the project until he hears from the TDC on the funding start date.
“I want to get the funds straightened out,” Wagenti said.
After some discussion, Mullins reported that board approval to do so was not necessary.
Also at the meeting, Wagenti gave an update on the Alison Hagerup parking lot project. He anticipates receiving the Florida Department of Environmental Protection permit this week or next week for it.
“So I’m hopeful on that,” Wagenti said.
He explained that the project will then go back to the county for a second review.
“We met all of their criteria for the first review,” Wagenti said.
He added that he has reached out to county officials to try and push the project along as quickly as possible as his hope is to do the project while the parking lot is closed as a result of COVID-19.
IN OTHER NEWS
– The commission decided not to take up for a vote a proposed resolution by staff that would have amended the CEPD’s original local state of emergency to allow for the status quo to remain in effect until the cancellation of the state of emergency, versus voting every seven days to extend the order.
“I think that’s your safest bet,” Brookes said of continuing to hold a weekly vote.