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Pensacola Beach water tower receives new paint job

The water tower on Pensacola Beach recently got a new paint job...  At a cost of around two hundred thousand dollars. 
That money, plus ten grand a year for maintenance has Channel Three's Jim Carmack looking in to who's paying the bill for a water tower that doesn't deliver water, in today's Waste Watch Report.
Jim Carmack of Channel 3 News says, "The three dolphin water storage tanks behind me provide all the water needed here by ECUA for Pensacola Beach.  The water tower that used to provide that service now stands non-functioning, but as an icon to those who come here."
Everybody knows the beach ball water tower on Pensacola Beach.
"I love it."
"You remember Pensacola Beach by the Beach Ball."
What most people don't know is that the tower no longer provides water for Santa Rosa Island.
"I figured something that big had to have had some sort of purpose actually.  So that kind of surprises me," says Logan Kirby, who is vacationing from Memphis, TN.
Island Authority Executive Director Buck Lee says the value is in the recognition it provides world wide for vacationers.  "It's great advertising!  They put it on their social network.  They got the beach ball scene at Pensacola Beach."
The money to maintain the tower does not come from county taxes.  It comes from leaseholder fees on the island, and SRA fees targeted toward tourists.
"2, 2 and a half percent on food and drink and hotel rooms," says Lee.  "So, total it brings in around 7.5 or 8 million dollars a year and it's well worth it for what we get out here."
Many think the cost is justified.  Emily Hillman says she likes the beach ball.  "I think you need spend money to attract tourists and make it a place that people want to come visit, and that's one of the things that does that."  Nicki Wright does not agree.  "It's still some of our money coming out of it.  No matter, you can't split it up and say it's only the tourists where it's coming.  It's coming out of everyone's."
The discussion may continue, but for now, the iconic image will stay put.