Englewood, Florida - MURDOCK -- After a year of meeting with property owners, crunching and re-crunching the numbers, Peter Ravella presented Charlotte County commissioners Tuesday a funding plan to maintain Gulf beaches.
Ravella’s consulting team proposed two, eight-year municipal service taxing units -- one for Manasota Key and another for Knight-Don Pedro islands -- to pay for restoring sand to eroded beaches.
Commissioners could implement the new taxing units so that they appear on 2019 tax bills. The county is also moving forward with the beach renourishment project.
All Sandpiper Key and Manasota Key property owners west of the Tom Adams Bridge in Charlotte County will pay a "recreational" assessment of $400 to $450 annually. The recreational assessment raises the bulk of the revenue expected from property owners.
The assessment becomes more complicated for property west of North Beach Road and Gulf Boulevard -- what’s being defined as the "near-shore" assessment zone.
Residential properties, whether single-family or condominium, within the near-shore zone will be assessed on a point system where one point equates to 0.1 acre of property and each point is expected to be valued at $70.
Properties fronting on the Gulf will calculate additional points into their near-shore assessment based upon the length of their beach front. One point equates to 10 linear feet of Gulf front.
Commercial and other non-residential properties within the near-shore zone will pay the same assessment as the residential properties. However, commercial properties will pay a recreational assessment based upon a fraction of their just value.
The county intends to match property owners revenues paid into the taxing unit, but it will also pay an assessment, similar to commercial properties on the public beaches and other governmental properties.
"It went fabulously well," Joan Dunham-Card said of Ravella’s presentation of the funding strategy before the South Manasota Sandpiper Key Association.
"There was only one dissenter who wanted to wait for Sarasota County," said Dunham-Card, who is past president of the association.
North of the county line, Sarasota County is evaluating the condition of its beaches on Manasota Key and could be joining Charlotte in its beach management project.
Charlotte’s plan expects the state to pick up 39 percent of the costs for beach management. With Sarasota County joining in the project could garner additional funds from the state since it would be deemed a regional project.
Knight and Don Pedro property owners would pay less into their taxing unit since beach management will cost less.
The assessment methodology, similar to Manasota Key, proposes islanders will pay an estimated $295 recreational assessment, and a near-shore assessment is determined upon $30 per point.
Like Manasota Key, Charlotte County will match what Knight-Don Pedro islanders contribute and will pay the assessment for government-owned properties.
"It’s reasonable and well thought out," Palm Island Resort owner Dean Beckstead said.
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