Christen Kelley / The Record

FL - In St. Augustine Beach, officials say tourists don’t generate revenue needed to cover costs

For tourists looking for a small surfside town to stroll along the ocean, St. Augustine Beach is the perfect getaway

Visitors to the area generate a need for hotels, restaurants and other businesses that provide employment and contribute to the economy.

But those tourists are also putting a strain on the city’s financial resources, city officials say, and residents are picking up the bill.

The St. Augustine Beach Police Department is tracking how much of its manpower goes toward tourism-related calls. The data is still being collected, but it already shows that more than half of service calls to Beach Police come from non-residents.

“A substantial proportion of our police services alone are for tourist-related service calls, and the amount of overhead needed is pretty staggering,” Mayor Undine George said. “We patrol the beach to the north and south of the city limits and we get a modest reimbursement from the county for that, but it’s not nearly enough to cover our costs for the beach traffic patrolling that we do in our city.”

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