FAC News Clips – June 21, 2017
BARTOW — Polk County Commissioner George Lindsey made his feelings about the Florida Legislature clear Wednesday during this month’s Polk County Tiger Bay Club meeting: “What these folks don’t know, don’t care and don’t want to know are the challenges facing local government.” Lindsey shared his thoughts on issues including a broader homestead exemption, and the impact the state budget and mandates could have on Polk’s schools.
Sarasota Herald Tribune
SARASOTA — The Sarasota County Commission will not entertain any increase to its property tax rate in its next budget, despite an administrative staff recommendation to do so. The commission will seriously consider, however, a new excise tax of up to 5 percent on electric, gas and water consumption by residents in the unincorporated parts of the county, the board agreed Wednesday afternoon. Now the staff has been directed to return next month with plans for how that new levy, called a public service tax, and some potential cuts could be used in tandem to balance not just this year’s budget, but potentially the next five.
Cedar Key Beacon
County Coordinator Wilbur Dean’s requests were met with unanimous approval, enabling the County to collect EMS and Fire Rescue impact fees for Inglis and Yankeetown, as well as Educational System impact fees. Dean also presented the Board with an award from insurer Public Risk Management of Florida honoring the County “for having the most improved safety performance in a large entity class.” Levy County claimed the distinction based on its reduction of insurance claims. Dean received the award on behalf of the County at the PRM meeting in Naples in June. PRM is an insurance service for public agencies.
The Leon County Commission wants to hold a public workshop on the uptick of local crime later this fall. The announcement comes after the capital county logged the highest crime rate in the state for the third year running. The Florida Department of Law Enforcement analysis shows the bump is largely due to an increase in property theft. Commissioner John Dailey wants to understand the trend and reverse it. “I think we should invite the author of the report from FDLE, the sheriffs obviously, the police chief, police chiefs from FSU, FAMU, TCC," Dailey said.
INDIAN RIVER COUNTY — Even if county commissioners wanted to equip sheriff's deputies with body cameras, the decision has to come from Sheriff Deryl Loar. The commission cannot force Loar to make any changes to his proposed $49.9 million budget, Commission Chairman Joe Flescher, a former sheriff's deputy, said at Tuesday's commission meeting. So far, Loar is keeping body cameras out of his budget. Family and friends of Alteria Woods — the 21-year-old woman fatally shot during a March 19 sheriff's Special Weapons and Tactical team drug raid at a Gifford house —have advocated for body cameras since the officer-involved shooting.
Englewood Sun Herald
Regional officials are already worried about a proposed constitutional amendment that won’t even be on the ballot until next year. The amendment, which would increase the state’s homestead exemption by $25,000, would cause a budget hit of more than $600 million dollars if it passes, according to the Florida Association of Counties.
South Florida Sun-Sentinel
In the mind of Florida House Speaker Richard Corcoran, 160 legislators in Tallahassee better represent you than your city council, county commission or school board. Corcoran’s claim is not only arrogant, it shows the Republican-controlled Florida Legislature no longer believes the basic Republican value that government closest to the people works best. As reported by the Tampa Bay Times, Corcoran, who is raising money for a potential 2018 gubernatorial run, addressed his disdain for local control during a speech last week in South Tampa.
CHAMP: Bryan Desloge: A Leon County Commissioner, he spoke for beleaguered local officials across Florida when he stood up to House Speaker Richard Corcoran, one of the state’s most powerful politicians. Under Corcoran’s leadership, the Legislature has been steadily whittling away at the authority and revenue base of local governments. At a speaking engagement in Tampa last week, the speaker contended that state legislators are actually more responsive to the public and less susceptible to special-interest influence than local officials.
ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. - It is now illegal to have any type of marijuana, even medical marijuana, at the Orlando International Airport. The Greater Orlando Aviation Authority Board unanimously approved the medical marijuana ban Wednesday. A draft policy published this week by the Greater Orlando Aviation Authority puts medical marijuana users at risk of arrest when flying out of Orlando International Airport, despite 71 percent of Florida voters choosing to legalize weed for medical uses last November.
Tampa Bay Times
The House Financial Services Committee pushed through a Florida-sponsored bill intended to cut flood insurance costs. If passed, the bipartisan bill would help create a marketplace for private flood insurance. "Competition can bring lower prices and relief from the flood insurance rate increases that threaten hardworking families and small businesses," Rep. Dennis Ross, R-Lakeland, who is co-sponsoring the legislation with Rep. Kathy Castor, D-Tampa, said in a release.
The governor. The speaker of the Florida House. The president of the Florida Senate. There's a reason the three are commonly referred to as the most powerful politicians in the state. That reason was on full display June 2 as Gov. Rick Scott, House Speaker Richard Corcoran, R-Land O'Lakes, and Senate President Joe Negron, R-Stuart, appeared together at a news conference at Miami International Airport. After months of open disagreement on key issues, including funding for tourism and job creation, the triumvirate complimented each other while outlining their $83 billion budget agreement.