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Lee BOC OKs nearly $5.8 million in beach, shoreline project; Ratify $90K state reimbursement grant to clear beaches after red tide event

Dead fish washed up on Florida beaches during an outbreak of red tide along the Gulf Coast.
Jana Kriz
Getty Images
Dead fish washed up on Florida beaches during an outbreak of red tide along the Gulf Coast.

The Lee Board of County Commissioners voted Tuesday to approve interlocal agreements to fund 14 Lee County Beach and Shoreline projects using more than $5.78 million in Tourist Development Tax revenue and ratified acceptance of a grant from the Florida Department of Environmental Protection for reimbursement of services associated with the recent red tide event up to the maximum of $90,000.

The interlocal agreements are between Lee County and the Barrier Island Parks Society, Captiva Erosion Prevention District, City of Cape Coral, City of Sanibel, Town of Fort Myers Beach, and State of Florida Department of Environmental Protection.

The projects primarily allow for maintenance of beach park facilities including public accesses, parking lots, restrooms and equipment at Boca Grande, Cape Coral, Captiva, Sanibel and Fort Myers Beach. Capital improvement projects include restrooms and shoreline monitoring and expansion in Cape Coral.

The Beach and Shoreline funding is an annual program, with the application deadline early in the calendar year. The applicants receiving funding this year all remain committed to the identified projects following Hurricane Ian’s landfall in September.

Beach and Shoreline project funding accounts for 26.4% of the proceeds from the Tourist Development Tax assessed on short-term lodging such as hotels, resorts and vacation rentals.

The agreements are part of more than $15 million in projects using Tourist Development Taxes, including a $4 million allocation for beach nourishment.

For more information on the Beach and Shoreline program, visit www.leevcb.com/funding-programs/beach-and-shoreline.

The state reimbursement grant provides funds to the county for the purpose of assisting with the cleanup of the large quantities of dead fish and marine life on Lee County’s beaches and in its waterways. The Florida Department of Health-Lee County issued Red Tide Alerts in November in several areas from Bonita Beach north to Boca Grande Pass. Those alerts were lifted earlier this month.

Lee County Parks & Recreation has completed cleanup in areas most heavily impacted, including Captiva and the Lee County portions of Gasparilla Island. More cleanup is possible.

The eligible expenses for reimbursement are staff overtime hours including fringe benefits, contractual expenses related to the biological debris removal services, rental of equipment, and landfill fees.

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