Boating access tax to be adopted by other Fla. counties?

COLLIER COUNTY, Fla. – Following Palm Beach County’s adoption of a referendum that would allow the county to borrow $50 million to improve boat access, other Florida counties are considering walking in its footsteps, according to an article Saturday in the News-Press.

Collier County, which faces a shortage of parking spaces at public boat ramps, appears to be particularly interested.

If a similar referendum were to get on the ballot in two years, work needs to start now, R.L. Caron, vice president of North Bay Civic Association, told the newspaper.

“The first step would be to petition commissioners during a meeting,” he said. “Lay it out and if you get a favorable reaction, it would move along through the various county departments.”

As a representative of northwestern Collier County, Commissioner Frank Halas is concerned about public marina owners selling out to private developers and thus is willing to consider the concept, according to the newspaper.

“Everyone who moves to a coastal county moves here because they want to have access to the beaches, the sun and the sand and the water, and if it’s only for a select few, that does not bode well for the rest of the population,” he told the News-Press.

Amanda Townsend of Collier County’s parks and recreation department told the newspaper suggestions to help solve the boating access problem are being collected. She said voters have recently pledged funds toward The Zoo and Conservation Collier and thus may be reluctant to approve another tax increase.

An increase in boater access is also needed in Lee County, commissioner Ray Judah told the newspaper. While he said he would support a referendum like the one adopted by Palm Beach County, finding support in Lee County would be difficult, he predicted.

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