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Manatee Commissioners say ‘yes’ to more funding for Mote

SARASOTA — This week, Manatee County Commissioners voted to support Mote's operations, programs and outreach activities that promote tourism. They committed $5 million over five years beginning in 2021.

“What Mote is going to do is they're going to use this money to kind of put a new slant on tourism,” Commissioner Misty Servia said. “Bring people here to do sustainable tourism, kayak tours, scientific analysis, things that people are really interested in from kind of an educational standpoint.”

Servia said the money is coming from tourism dollars, not local taxpayers.

“Tourists pay four pennies on the dollar when they come to visit this area and that money is used, we caught the bed tax, that money is used to provide security for tourist-related activities, outreach and marketing,” Servia said.

But, there’s a catch with the agreement.

“The law is very specific and because this money was generated from tourism dollars it can only be used for certain things,” Servia said.

Servia said it can only be used to bring more tourists to Manatee County and improve water quality.