Recently, you published my letter regarding water quality issues at the Tigertail lagoon. Since writing, I have done some follow-up work on County budgets and expenditures, and I believe these figures will be of interest to Marco residents.
First, Collier County collects Tourist Development Tax (TDT) dollars from both Naples and Marco Island. In the last three fiscal years (FY 19 is YTD) Naples has collected S25.4 million dollars and Marco Island has collected $25.1 million dollars; very nearly the same amount. During this same time period the County spent $6.5 million dollars on Naples beach re-nourishment but only $4.0 million dollars on Marco Island beaches. This seems unfair, especially since we are faced with deteriorating conditions at Tigertail lagoon.
Second, Let’s look at the beach visitation figures, again according to figures obtained from County sources. For FY 2018 (October 2017 through September 2018) figures for total visitors to Tigertail show 521,123 people. For South Beach access, figures show 230,706 people. In summary Marco hosted three-quarters of a million pairs of feet through Marco Island County beach operations during FY 2018. You don’t need me to tell you: That’s a lot of feet on the Marco beaches!
I should also mention that my repeated attempts to solicit input from County officials responsible for formulating beach maintenance plans have yet to receive a reply.
I suggest that our residents need to hold County officials responsible for the financial imbalance and urge our city officials to work with the County to rectify the situation. I would remind everyone that water quality issues at Tigertail are important for both human and wildlife activity; seeing the lagoon turn into a stagnant pool through political and physical inaction is unacceptable on many levels.