FAC News Clips - July 19, 2019 -

Tampa Bay Times

Florida Supreme Court to decide future of Hillsborough's transportation tax

A lawsuit challenging Hillsborough County’s one-cent transportation tax is going to the Florida Supreme Court. Bob Emerson, 65, of Apollo Beach, filed an appeal Thursday regarding the tax’s bond validation, a process in which a judge decides whether the county can borrow against the new revenue source. Its purpose is to reassure potential lenders that the tax money used to repay bond holders won’t be challenged in the future. The issue is linked to Commissioner Stacy White’s lawsuit against the sales tax, with both asking a court to decide whether the tax was legal.

Orlando Business Journal

Guest column: Osceola’s new school impact fees are roadblock to housing affordability, smart growth

The new School District of Osceola County impact fees for apartments are regressive and are causing apartment developers to walk away from projects. There also is growing concern about how the numbers were calculated for the new fees, which will exacerbate the current shortage of affordable housing for our workforce, as well as promote negative environmental impacts by encouraging larger homes and discouraging smaller, more sustainable living. The numbers, in many cases, no longer make economic sense.

Santa Rosa’s Press Gazette

Santa Rosa schools’ budget includes no impact fees

The Santa Rosa County School District budget for the upcoming school year will include no impact fees to help build new schools in one of the fastest growing counties in Florida. Instead, the Santa Rosa County School District must continue to rely on the half-cent sales tax that took effect Oct. 1, 1998 for the same purpose — to help build schools amid declining state dollars. Santa Rosa has benefited from $131.1 million total in half-cent sales tax revenue that voters approved overwhelmingly in 1997, 2007 and 2017 to build new schools. During the first 10 years, the Santa Rosa County school system built seven new schools with the help of the sales tax.

Florida Phoenix

Your government vs. internet hackers

As state officials make routine preparations to protect against cyberattacks on Florida’s elections infrastructure, the National Governors Association has recommended a framework for how states can plan for attacks like Colorado’s “ransomware” attack last year. Then-Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper made the first state “cyber emergency” declaration last year after hackers mounted a ransomware attack against that state’s Department of Transportation. The hackers locked the government out of its Internet accounts and demanded ransom. The state never paid – it had prepared for such an attack by segmenting networks for various agencies and backing up data that allowed it to rebuild the state’s transportation system.


UPDATE: Gainesville city commissioners uphold "plastic bag" ban

In a 5-to-1 vote, Gainesville city commissioners decided to implement the "plastic bag" ban starting in January of 2020. The commissioners discussed the issue after receiving a letter from the Florida Retail Federation requesting that the ban be overturned. The vote to continue with the ban goes against the recommendation of the City Attorney. Commissioner Harvey Ward told TV20 he could not vote against an issue just to save money, saying "if I compromise what I believe is right to potentially save some money, then shame on me."


Volunteers Needed to help Hurricane Michael victims in Gadsden County

Many families are still struggling from Hurricane Michael. The United Way of the Big Bend is coming together to help those in Gadsden County. Friday, July 19th, volunteers will be going out to remove trees and debris and make minor repairs for 12 to 17 families in Gadsden County. "At least one tree, if not two trees, came through the back room. They actually came in the house and everything was soaked."  Chattahoochee resident Barbara Milt said.


Palm Beach County maximizing efforts to thwart hacking of 2020 election

Wendy Sartory Link is Palm Beach County's new elections supervisor. Like supervisors throughout the state, she's working overtime beefing up voting security. "We want to do everything we can possibly do," said Link. That includes spending $15 million on new voting machines and new voter registration program. Palm Beach County's 975 new ES&S voting machines are being tested in the office's Riviera Beach warehouse. A total of 525 touch screen machines that are compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act are also under review.

Florida Politics

Florida Chamber touts ‘science-based solutions’ to solve state’s water problems

The Florida Chamber of Commerce is out with a new video focusing on research done on the state’s water systems by researchers at Florida Atlantic University (FAU). The video is the latest in a series of videos on water quality put out by the Chamber focusing on various bodies of water within Florida and problems ailing those systems. “When it comes to securing Florida’s future, there are few issues more important than water,” said Mark Wilson, President and CEO of the Florida Chamber. “With 5 million more people expected to call Florida home by 2030, science-based solutions are the only way to ensure Florida’s water future is sustainable and provides the quality of life Floridians and visitors deserve.”