LEE COUNTY, Fla. - Lee County is asking British Petroleum for 140,000 dollars. The county claims that money was lost to oil spill cancellations last summer. The money would have gone to the county in the form of "bed taxes" - the 5 percent tax that you pay when you stay overnight in a hotel or condo.
"That money would be used by the visitor bureau to pay some salaries and to pay for some ads. It is a significant amount of money," said Clerk of Courts Charlie Green. His office is pursuing the claim against BP. Even though no oil reached SW Florida shores, some people cancelled vacations and hotel room rentals, out of fear of the massive oil leak. Those cancellations meant less tax money for the county.
"The visitor bureau came up with the loss figure. I believe it is conservative and reasonable," said Green.
The clerk also is researching another matter - whether hotels that got money from BP,should have to pay 5 percent bed tax to the county, out of those proceeds.
"If they are gross receipts, yes I believe the hotels should pay us 5 percent of what they got from the oil company," said Green.
Andrea Carriere, owner of Silver Sands Villa, disagrees with Green. She got 5,000 from BP out of a 6,000 dollar claim for losses.
"I pay plenty to the county now, they get their fair share. I do not want to pay any money to the county out of the 5,000 and I should not have to pay it," said Carriere.
It's not known when or if BP will grant the county claim. Also, no word on a final ruling on the county getting a 5 percent cut of the claims paid to hotels.