VOLUSIA COUNTY, Fla. – After a heated debate during Tuesday’s Volusia County council meeting, it was determined people living in Volusia County will not be getting free beach access anytime soon.
Councilman Jeff Brower floated the idea to drop the fees in order to attract people to less crowded beaches. He was looking at selling the naming rights at each of the county’s 30 beach accesses to organizations and companies and use that money to offset the cost of giving residents free beach access.
Despite his push to get the council to start the research behind it Tuesday, the other members voted to bring it back to the table in the fall.
“That seems to be a familiar theme. That we put things off and kick it down the road,” said Brower.
The other members wanted to give their staff more time to research how naming rights would work and said they’re busy with the pandemic right now.
“I would really like to see if after the fall when the budget has already been discussed,” said council member Billie Wheeler.
Brower said the ramp tolls bring in about $6 million a year and roughly $1 million of that is from county residents.
“I understand we do not collect near enough money on the beach tolls to take care of the things we have to do at the beach and it has to be supplemented out of the general fund,” said council member Dr. Fred Lowry.
Residents raised concerns at the meeting, too, with worries companies will only want their names on the most popular beach ramps and the appearance of it.
Brower said residents already pay for the beach ramps in their property taxes. He said charging them at the toll is double taxation and needs to change.
“It’s a tiny little tax break for the people that live here not to have to pay twice for beach access,” he said.
The council said it will bring the topic back up in the first meeting of October.