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Pinellas business owners urge county leaders to raise tourist bed tax for beach renourishment

Pinellas County leaders work to address beach renourishment

Posted on August 30, 2023

Business owners in Pinellas County Beach towns are raising concerns about shoreline erosion after three beach renourishment projects recently came to a halt.

The renourishment projects could not move forward because of a policy issue that the Army Corps of Engineers is enforcing.

The Tampa Bay Beach Chamber organized a letter campaign with about 30 local businesses participating.

They sent letters to county leaders urging them to raise the tourist bed tax allocation that goes to the beach nourishment fund. Currently, half a penny of the bed tax goes to renourishment. They are pushing to raise that to one cent.

Paul Jenkins, the owner of Crabby Bills, is one of the business owners that sent a letter to the county.

“We’re scared that if we don’t react now, we can’t have the federal government react to this and put the property owners’ fears at ease, and we won’t get this done, we won’t have much of a beach for people to enjoy and come to enjoy our restaurants and locations,” Jenkins said.

Jenkins told ABC Action News the nourishment is needed, and he’s worried they’re running out of time.

“If you walk over to the beach right now, it’s about 50% of what it’s been two years ago. So it’s very much concerning for us,” Jenkins said.

State leaders are advocating in D.C., and county leaders are looking into alternatives to get this done without the Army Corps of Engineers.

”At this point, we have multiple strategies that were working on, and we are continuing to dialogue with the corps,” Kelli Hammer Levy, the Pinellas County Public Works Director, said.

She said they’re moving forward with a design for the project in case they have to do this project without help from the federal government.


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