Its simple: Manatee County should not be divided among the island and non-island residents. Both Mayors' main objective behind this idea is to reduce the number of inland Manatee County residents from going to the island which they are free to visit (see link above). This is a problem-creating idea which will turn county residents against one another and I believe city governments should not partake in this type of action.
Moreover, the non-resident island goers contribute largely towards the economy on AMI by traveling to the island for dinner while paying a premium at such beach restaurants; by staying at a beach condo for the weekend; or by just enjoying a day on the beach located within their own county. Each and every individual that crosses the bridges onto AMI brings with them an economic boost which greatly outweighs any "burden" that island residents feel "this type of visitor" may bring or any amount of money which such tolls could provide. While tourists also play a large part in the economy on AMI during the winter months, Manatee County residents provide an economic boost year round.
A toll to cross the bridge is unnecessary as it would deter many from going to the island, either from a economic standpoint or as a matter of principle in rebellion over this inappropriate penalty, and therefore will have a great negative impact on the island's economy, all while creating tension among fellow county residents.
While this is currently just an idea propsed by these government officials, I feel it is necessary to stop such a plan dead in its tracks. Let's not let this gain any ground and put it to rest before it has the chance to cultivate into actuality.
Please email Anna Maria Mayor SueLynn at [email protected] and Holmes Beach Mayor Carmel Monti at [email protected] to express your concern.