Boat fees may increase in Florida

FORT MYERS, Fla. - Population growth combined with diminished water access may force an increase in boat registration fees in Lee County Florida in the near future, a Florida television station reported on its Web site yesterday.

The county currently collects about $800,000 per year in registration fees, but the television station says it has learned the fund where that money goes is “tapped out,” and that Lee county leaders believe a hike in fees may be needed to fund the construction of additional boat ramps.

Lee County says that half the money it collects, currently goes to patrol the waterways and a portion has been spent on artificial reef projects. The county will use the remainder to buy property in Bokeelia and in Cape Coral to improve access for boaters, the station reported. But with the high cost of waterfront property, the county can't afford to buy any more.

There is a bill pending to raise registration fees statewide. Currently, the average boater pays a total of $75.75 in registration fees and surcharges. The increase would hike the cost to $95.25, according to the story.

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