County boat tax proposed

St. Augustine Port Authority Commissioner Jay Bliss plans to propose that the county tax boat registrations to “provide a measure of fairness: those deriving the most benefits, boaters, would be providing a fairer measure of support.”

Bliss promised at this week’s meeting of The St. Augustine Port, Waterway and Beach District Commission to bring the proposal to its May meeting.

Bliss noted the property tax-supported district “hits some 35,000 homeowners, many not boat owners.”

The taxing district yields about $385,000 annually.

“Counties are empowered to tax boats registered in their jurisdiction” said Bliss. “Counties are strictly accounted to use those monies for waterway-associated expenses and improvements.”

Bliss suggests such a tax be similar to vehicle registration – “the heavier the vehicle, the more wear it produces, the higher the tax.”

Bliss noted there are some 14,000 boats registered in St. Johns County, which at one point in recent years was the fastest growing boat registration county in Florida.

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