Mexico Beach Voters to Decide on "Leave No Trace" Ordinance

MEXICO BEACH, Fla. - After years of discussions and disagreements, the Mexico Beach City Council is letting residents take the reins.

"It's like being a councilman for one day," said Tom Bailey, Mexico Beach Mayor.

A special referendum is up for vote on a "Leave No Trace" ordinance.

"The ordinance is very simple. When you come to the beach, you must take what you bring with you, home with you when you leave," said Mary Lee Raulerson, Leave No Trace Citizen's Committee.

The ordinance states that nothing can be left on the beach unattended from seven at night to seven in the morning.

The citizens committee that petitioned for the ordinance said over the last couple summers, items being left on the beach overnight have become a big issue.

"We have photographs of the beach last year in July and in august and all of the canopies and empty canopy frames that were left and chairs and floatation devices and if a wind comes then all of that is, ends up in the dunes or ends up in the water," said Raulerson.

In 2015 the council launched a "Keep It Neat" campaign to combat trash and abandoned beach gear, but they didn't want a full ordinance because visitors are used to being able to leave out their gear.

"People come down here for a small town beach environment and they put out their tents and they want to stay for a week and then they take them down and leave," said Bailey.

Some residents believe it's become a bad habit.

"Yes we are a small town and we have a small beach, but that's all the more reason, as far as I'm concerned and a lot of people are concerned, to protect it because It's our biggest asset," said Raulerson.

Tuesday, voters will be able to decide for themselves whether a "Leave No Trace" ordinance belongs in Mexico Beach or not.

"I wish everybody would come out whether you're for it or against it," said Bailey.

"I just want people to come out tomorrow and vote to protect their beach," said Raulerson.

If you would like to read the full ordinance, click here.

Residents can cast their votes at the Mexico Beach Civic Center. The polls will be open from 7:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. Tuesday.

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