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Town of Fort Myers Beach has first budget hearing, discussing potential fee increases

Posted at 4:33 PM, Sep 08, 2022
and last updated 2022-09-09 05:24:03-04

FORT MYERS BEACH, Fla. — The Town of Fort Myers Beach had its first budget hearing Thursday, discussing possible fee increases for businesses on the island across the board, from parasailing to jet ski rentals.

We first brought you coverage of these potential increases on Wednesday, with the Town responding in a written statement that they were considering the increases due to inflation.

It's the first budget hearing out of two that the town is required to have before considering adopting the budget.

Included in the proposal are increased fees for vendor licenses for personal watercraft, increasing it to $1200.

It's a seven-time increase from what watercraft businesses like Adventure Watersports on Fort Myers Beach are seeing right now, and the first time those fees have increased in nearly three decades.

Roger Rehard, an employee, says those increased costs would likely be passed along to the consumer, and they would likely have to reduce their hours to only be open during the season.

“It would make it so these places that try to stay open all year round - we wouldn’t be able to do that," says Rehard.

But consumers like Deb Churchill, a visitor from Kansas City, says she would be less likely to rent things like jet skis or beach chairs if those fees would increase.

"The less money you have to spend, the better," says Churchill. “It would probably hamper my consideration for it.”

The Town Council must have at least one more budget hearing before it can be considered for adoption.