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Charlotte County Profile

CHARLOTTE COUNTY: Established April 23, 1921. "Charlotte" came from "Carlos" (English) or "Calos" (Calusa Indian). In 1565 the Spanish named "Carlos Bay," followed by the English in 1775 who named "Charlotte Harbor" in tribute to Queen Charlotte Sophia, wife of King George III.

PUNTA GORDA: County's only city, incorporated Dec. 7, 1887. Originally called Trabue (1885) after developer Isaac Trabue. Population: 12,768 (August 1998).

PORT CHARLOTTE/ENGLEWOOD: Port Charlotte, created in the 1950s, remains an unincorporated area (not a city) with about 60,000 people (August 1998). Englewood, also unincorporated, lies half in Charlotte County, half in Sarasota County, was founded in 1894 by Herbert Nichols of Englewood, Illinois who established lemon groves.

LOCATED: Charlotte County is between Lee County (Fort Myers) and Sarasota County in Southwest Florida on the Gulf of Mexico. It is about 100 miles south of Tampa, 160 miles northwest of Miami and 120 miles southwest of Orlando.

PUNTA GORDA MSA: The county gained Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) status after the 1990 U.S. Census, when the population went topped 100,000 for the first time. The county had more than 90% growth during the 1980s and, by percentage, gained the distinction of being the "fastest growing county in the U.S." It is referred to as the Punta Gorda MSA.

DEVELOPMENT: Most of the county land acres are vacant, unused or in agriculture use. The majority of commercial and residential land is in the Port Charlotte-Punta Gorda corridor along U.S. 41. The eastern part is predominately rural with agriculture use, natural and low-density use.

SIZE: Total of 859.3 square miles (693 land, 165.6 water) with 219 miles of coastline. There are 451,000 acres, 1,400 in commercial use, 10,900 developed for residential use. Punta Gorda has 14.1 square miles or 9,030 acres of land (August 1998).

AGRICULTURE: Charlotte County Soil/Water Conservation District 451,200 (Phone: 941-639-6233)

Citrus: 23,107 acres (11% of total agricultural acreage) 798 grove parcels, 2,695,200 trees, 5,252,000 million boxes of fruit (1995-96 season)

Other: 4,000 acres in vegetables (2% of agricultural acreage) consisting of watermelon, potatoes, eggplant, tomatoes, squash, peppers, cabbage and cucumbers. There is 174,000 acres of cattle grazing pastures (87% of agricultural acreage). There are 216 farms making up 227,202 acres. (August 1998)

COMMUNICATIONS: 3 daily/Sunday newspapers, 6 Charlotte County radio stations, 8 Southwest Florida broadcast television stations and 2 television cable TV services.

ECONOMICS: 10,200 county occupational licenses issued and 866 City of Punta Gorda occupational licenses issued (August 1998).

Federal spending: $715.9 million in Social Security benefits. 12-Banks with 34-branches; 8-S&L;'s with 15-branches. Per-Capita Income: $20,949 (1996) Lottery Sales: $18.9 million or $146 per person in ticket sales for 1998. Florida Price Index for Charlotte County is $97.74 based on $100 Florida price levels, i.e., the least expensive county to live in SW Florida. Ranks 23 of 67 counties. (August 1998)

EDUCATION: Edison Community College (ECC) Charlotte campus is on Airport Road in Punta Gorda. It has 1,600 students.

Florida Gulf Coast University, (FGCU) Florida's 10th State University opened in Fort Myers in August 1997. ECC main campus in Fort Myers. University of South Florida (USF) campus in Fort Myers. Manatee Community College (MCC) campus between North Port & South Venice. Charlotte County Vocational Technical Center.

There are 10 elementary schools, 4 middle schools, 3 senior high schools, 5 specialty public schools and 1 charter school. There were 16,400 students enrolled in Charlotte County public schools during 1998-99. There are 9 private schools with 710 students (4.3% of student population). Each private school is religion based. Classroom size averages 23.6 students in elementary schools, 23.2 for middle schools and 25.8 for high schools. The drop out rate for 1998-99 was 2.5%. In the state it was 4.4%. The graduation rate for 1997-98 was 94.2% for Charlotte High School, 93% for Port Charlotte High School and 97.3% for Lemon Bay High School. Teachers: Starting salaries for teachers with a bachelor's degree is $23,406 and with a master's degree, $26,878. The average longevity of the teachers in Charlotte County is 12.5 years for elementary schools, 10.1 for middle schools and 13.3 years for high schools.

The Charlotte County School Board's 1998-99 operating budget was $89.5 million, (9.7310 mills). There was 2,000 full-time staff in 1998-99, with $5,321 spent per full-time student.


CHARLOTTE COUNTY SHERIFF'S OFFICE: 4 district offices, 394 personnel, 247 vehicles, 3 patrol boats, 3 aircraft, 6 K-9 dogs and an $18.8 million budget operating budget for 1998-99.

PUNTA GORDA CITY POLICE: 40 personnel, 33 vehicles, 2 patrol boats, 1 K-9 dog and a $2.3 million operating budget for 1998-99.

CHARLOTTE CORRECTIONAL INSTITUTE: In southern Charlotte County on 279 acres, has six 2-story buildings with 112-cells each. There are 1,286 inmates and 430 employees. It has an annual payroll of $14 million.

CHARLOTTE COUNTY FIRE & EMS: 14 stations, 175 personnel with 46 vehicles.

PUNTA GORDA FIRE DEPARTMENT: 2-stations, 26 firefighters, 16-volunteers and 12-fire trucks as well as a dive team.

CRIME RATES: The county rate for 1997 was 3,171.96, ranking it 55th of 67 counties. Florida average is 8,755.9.


COUNTY: 5-commissioners elected by district in November, with 4-year staggered terms. County Administrator is hired. Punta Gorda is county seat with annex offices in Murdock and Englewood.

CITY OF PUNTA GORDA: 5-member council elected in February by district with staggered 2-year terms. Mayor is elected, City Manager is hired.

AIRPORT AUTHORITY: 5-members elected at-large in November by district and 4-year staggered terms. Administers 1,840 acres of the Charlotte County Airport.

VOTERS: For the 1998 election, there were 93,052 registered voters in Charlotte County. Of those, 46,652 were Republicans, 32,227 were Democrats, 14,173 were registered in other parties.

HEALTH & SOCIAL SERVICES: ACLF facilities, 26 with 860 beds.

BABIES: Born at Bon Secours-St. Joseph Hospital, 920 in 1997. Birth rate per 1,000 is 7.5% (which ranks last of Florida's 67 counties)


HOSPITALS: There are 3 major hospitals with 674 beds, 2,571 total employees. Fawcett Memorial Hospital, Port Charlotte Charlotte Regional Medical Center, Punta Gorda Bon Secours-St. Joseph Hospital, Port Charlotte Charlotte County Mental Health Services, Punta Gorda

DOCTORS: There are 266 physicians, 1,433 RN's, 895 LPN's and 57 dentists.

NURSING HOMES: Total of 19 with 816 beds.

VETERANS: There were 25,638 veterans living in Charlotte County through 1997, with $21,742,457 in benefits paid. 55% of Charlotte County veterans are older than 65.


NEW SINGLE-FAMILY homes constructed in 1997: 855 in the county, 160 in Punta Gorda. TOTAL: 1,088.

EXISTING homes sold in 1997: 2,145.

CHARLOTTE BUILDERS & CONTRACTORS ASS'N: 90 builder members with 18,242 employees.

HOUSEHOLD SIZE: 2.23 persons per household with 56,757 housing units through 1998.

MOBILE HOMES: 10,709. There are 43 mobile home parks with 5,619 spaces and 1,597 RV park spaces.

MORTGAGES/RENTS: Median mortgage payments are $612 per month. Monthly rents average $329, which ranks 57th of 67 counties.

VALUE OF HOUSING: Average is $88,100 as of June 1998.

LABOR/INDUSTRY/EMPLOYMENT: There are 10 industrial parks in the county.

LABOR FORCE: 46,627 with 47.4% male, 37.5% female as of June 1998.

LARGEST EMPLOYER: Charlotte County School Board has 2,000 employees.

UNEMPLOYMENT: 1997 annual average was 3.9%.

MARINE: Commercial fishing boats landed 2.4-million pounds of Black mullet, 372,000-lbs. of blue crabs, 307,000-lbs. Red Grouper and 43,000-lbs. of pink shrimp. Sport fishermen fish for Tarpon, Redfish, Spotted Sea Trout and Snook.


1998: 120,887 in unincorporated areas, 12,768 in City of Punta Gorda, TOTAL: 133,655. Ranks 26th in state.

PROJECTED: Year 2000 at 142,376.

LANGUAGES: 94.1% speak English, 1% each in Spanish, German and French, 3.2% other.

RACE: 95% white, 3.8% black, 2.5% Hispanic, 0.7% Asian-Pacific, 0.3% other and 0.2% American Indian.

PREVIOUS RESIDENCE: Northeast 34.4%, Midwest 31.0%, Florida 13.5%, Southeast 12.2%, foreign 6.3%, other U.S. and West 1.7%.

SEX: Female, 52% Male, 48%

MEDIAN AGE: For 1997, it was 51.8 years old, which ranks as the oldest in the nation. Florida average is 38.1 years old.

RECREATION: The county has 48 parks/recreation areas, plus 4 state facilities, 1 federal wildlife refuge and 6 City of Punta Gorda parks. There are 12 1/2 miles of Gulf coast beaches, 15 public beach access sites, 28 marinas and 13 boat ramps.

BABCOCK WILDERNESS TOURS: Swamp buggy tours, with wildlife at it's finest in natural settings on the giant Babcock Ranch.

BASEBALL: Charlotte County Stadium is the spring training home for the Texas Rangers and the home for the Charlotte Rangers through 2001. The stadium's capacity is (6,026 seats). Charlotte Rangers: Texas Rangers:

CHARLOTTE BMX TRACK: Located in Punta Gorda has one of the finest tracks in all of Florida.

CHARLOTTE COUNTY SPEEDWAY: A 3/8ths mile asphalt oval track located on Airport Road in Punta Gorda.

CHARLOTTE HARBOR ENVIRONMENTAL CENTER: An 840-acre facility offers nature trails, picnic areas, education on local environment.

CULTURAL CENTER: In Port Charlotte, has senior lounge, 418-seat theater, library, woodshop, gift shop, country store, kitchen and food.

LIBRARIES: The Charlotte-Glades Library System is multi-county with public libraries located in Englewood, Murdock, Port Charlotte and Punta Gorda, plus a bookmobile and a public library office in Glades County. The library admin office is in Murdock next to the county building and also provides an audio-visual department. The budget is $1.26 million. Population with a library card is 82%.

PORT CHARLOTTE BEACH COMPLEX: Swimming, fishing pier, pool, boat ramp, basketball, boccie ball, playground, picnic, horseshoes, tennis and volleyball courts available.

TRINGALI CENTER: Englewood area recreation center with various indoor/outdoor activities, including tennis, basketball and a multi-purpose gym.

CHARLOTTE COUNTY MEMORIAL AUDITORIUM/CIVIC CENTER: In Punta Gorda, a multi-purpose facility, 2,000 seating capacity with a wide variety of activities like conventions, touring productions, arts/crafts shows, antique and trade shows, theater, balls, boxing and U.S. Military Bands.

MUSEUM: Next to the Auditorium, offers exhibits and programs in history, natural history, humanities and physical sciences.

OTHERS: Visual Arts Center, YMCA, yacht clubs, golf, tennis, racquetball, fishing, boating, sailing, diving.

RETAIL: 1997 retail sales were $2.14 billion. There are 586 retail businesses, employing 9,302 with an $9 million payroll.

SHOPPING CENTERS: There is a total of 4,606,816 square feet in 36 centers. Largest is Port Charlotte Town Center mall with 950,000 square feet.

TAXES: Ad valorem property tax applications for the $25,000 homestead exemption must be filed on or before March 1 of each year. To qualify, the property must be the owner's permanent residence on Jan. 1.

PERSONAL PROPERTY: 1997 taxable value at $554 million, REAL PROPERTY: 1997 taxable value at $5.79 billion. There are no corporate franchise taxes, 5.51% corporate state income tax, no city/county/state income tax, inheritance tax or inventory tax in Florida. There is a 6% Florida sales tax, 1% county sales tax and a county 3% tourist motel "bed" tax.

TOURISM: We have two seasons, WINTER (January-March) and SUMMER (June-August). Winter residents are referred to as "Snowbirds" who call Charlotte County their winter home for 3 to 6 months. At certain peaks, winter residents increase the population by 30%.

MOTELS: 29 hotels and motels ranging from 8 to 183 rooms totaling 1,435 rooms.

TRANSPORTATION: INTERSTATE-75 has 22-miles running north/south with five exits (#27 to #31); U.S. 17 ends in Punta Gorda and U.S. 41 is the main highway running north/south; The SEMINOLE GULF RAILROAD has excursion passenger and freight service; GREYHOUND has a bus station in Port Charlotte; the Charlotte County Airport has a 6,500 foot lighted runway plus two 5,000 foot runways and is home to the Florida International Air Show; AMTRAK has bus service to/from Port Charlotte-Tampa train station.

BOATS: There are 17,196 private boats registered in the county and 855 commercial fishing boats.

TRAVEL TIME TO WORK: Average time is 19.2-minutes.

VEHICLES: There are 82,304 registered cars, 15,183 trucks, 3,327 RVs and 2,348 motorcycles.

UTILITIES: ELECTRIC is provided by Florida Power & Light; Propane GAS is supplied by several businesses; there is one landfill in the county currently working 160 acres plus 480 acres to meet the county's needs for the next 34 years with WASTE generation of 7.16 pounds per person per day or 1.3 tons pp/per year; the county has one contract collection company, Punta Gorda has its own collection utility. County residential pickup is twice weekly, billed annually in property tax bills. Commercial service in the county is picked up as needed and billed monthly. The city of Punta Gorda residential pickup is twice weekly and charges are billed on the monthly utility bill. City commercial service is provided as needed and billed monthly. Tipping fee is $30.78 per ton. In 1997, 87,697 tons were landfilled, 10,539 tons were curbside recycled and another 66,783 tons were recycled totaling 165,019 tons; TELEPHONE service is provided by Sprint/United Telephone; there are 64 WASTEWATER treatment facilities in the county plus the City of Punta Gorda plant; the county also has 20 WATER treatment plants and the City of Punta Gorda plant.

WEATHER: AIR QUALITY: One of the cleanest in all of Florida, total suspended particulate value is a low 43, Florida standard is 150-TSP's.

CLIMATE: Humid, sub-tropical (Coconut Palms grow only from Punta Gorda southward).

RAIN: Yearly average is 49 1/2 inches.

TEMPERATURE: Annual average is 74.8º, average low in January is 64º and average high in July is 82º. August has 29 days with 90º.

For historic Charlotte County data, detailed information and support graphics, contact:

Bob "Carp" Carpenter (941) 639-3720 Charlotte DataGraphix

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