In the first eight months of the 2016-2017 fiscal year saw an increase of over 11 percent in Mexico Beach bed tax revenue.

 

 

In the first eight months of the 2016-2017 fiscal year saw an increase of over 11 percent in Mexico Beach bed tax revenue.

During the period, beginning in October and ending in May, the city saw an increase of $33,000 over the same period last year.

The figures, while still not official, are not expected to shift a great deal according to the Mexico Beach Community Development Council (CDC) president Kimberly Shoaf.

While Shoaf noted that Mexico Beach’s bed tax revenues are dwarfed by the communities to the east and west, she stated that she is encouraged by the numbers.

The greatest increase in those numbers came during snowbird season.

October through December saw a sustained growth of over 20 percent, while numbers dipped in January to just 6 percent growth, then quickly rebounded in February and March at 30 percent and just under 20 percent, respectively.

The only off month was April which saw a dip of over 4 percent, or $2,771.

With May showing a nearly 3 percent increase, Shoaf is hopeful that the trend can continue through the summer months despite the wet weather.

Shoaf believes that the weather won’t dim the numbers, but stated that she has received complaints about water quality due to the increased rains.

Shoaf also noted complaints about the implementation of Leave No Trace on city beaches but added that once explained complaints have usually died down.

According to Shoaf, the CDC has moved to targeting vacationers from further north, including those from the Carolinas and as far away as Kentucky.

Shoaf added that along with the families that have been coming to Mexico Beach for years, she has seen an increase of families moving their Gulf Coast vacations to Mexico Beach over the busier areas such as Pensacola and Panama City Beach.

Noting that there is only so much that Mexico Beach can grow, Shoaf said that the city fills in perfectly as one the Gulf Coast’s quiet getaways.

While bed tax revenues brought in a little of $325,000 during the first eight months of the fiscal year, Shoaf said that money goes through many channels before it comes back to the city.

While she hears complaints and questions about how the money is spent, Shoaf added that all the money is placed to benefit the beach town.

As an example, Shoaf explained that the CDC will be working in the near future with the city to participate in beach nourishment.

A Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP) grant has been awarded in the amount of $465,750, and the city is working with FDEP to finalize that project.

Shoaf expects the CDC to help the city with the project in any way it can.

The CDC president also added that work is being done to repair the city pier.

While the pier remains open, the end T-section is closed because of damage.

According to Shoaf, an engineer is accessing the situation to better understand the best way forward at this time.