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Short-term vacation rentals targeted in latest Fort Myers Beach fee hike

Fort Myers Beach
Posted at 5:09 PM, Sep 14, 2022
and last updated 2022-09-15 04:44:52-04

FORT MYERS BEACH, Fla. — More fee increases could be coming to Fort Myers Beach, this time for short term vacation rentals.

Town Councilman Bill Veach proposed the fee in last week's budget hearing, which would have owners pay $100 per bedroom, on top of a $300 license fee that was increased from $50 last year.

Councilman Veach says the he hopes to put the money toward funding more workforce housing on the island.

“Those workers, if they live on the island, then they’re not coming on and off the island with the rush hour traffic, they’re not aggravating our seasonal traffic, and they’re also bringing a vibrancy and sense of community to our island," says Veach.

Monica Tezak, who owns Holiday Beach House and FMB Cottages, is concerned about what the new fees could mean for those who rent from her beachside properties.

“I have to pass that on to the renters now. We haven’t increased our prices in years," says Tezak.

In total, numbers from the Lee County Clerk of Court shows that Tezak is one of about 2,000 short term rental owners on Fort Myers Beach. Last fiscal year, they helped the Town collect more than $7 million through the 5 percent bed tax.

The increased fees would mean that Tezak would be paying about $400 more a year.

“I don’t think they’re going to look at how this is going to effect everyone else," she says.

The second budget hearing, where the final vote will take place, is Thursday, September 22nd, at 5pm.

The hearing is located at Town Hall and is open to the public.