Submitted by cmosteller on Tue, 02/13/2018 - 16:11

FAC News Clips – February 13, 2018


Local News



Collier County commissioners set to spend $85K on parking app

There's a high price tag coming with new technology to help people find parking at area beaches. “I think it's nice, but I don't know if it's really worth it,” resident Natalie Gildea said. Collier County commissioners are set to spend $85,000 to install a system showing you where open parking spots are at two local beaches. “The parking is not really that great at all. I just went to the end of the thing and turned around, and I just found this,” Collier County visitor Lainey McAvoy said. McAvoy drove from Fort Lauderdale just to spend a day at Collier County beaches but struggled to find parking.


Fox 13

Pasco County fighting illegal dumping

Illegal dumping has hit a record in Pasco County.  It's gotten so bad, county leaders are rolling out a new program designed to catch those who are dumping trash along county roads. County commissioner Mike Moore says since October they’ve had 143 complaints for illegal dumping. They are starting the initiative called #PascoProud -- if you see illegal dumping post pictures and videos of the perpetrator using that hashtag. County commissioners are hoping #PascoProud will help them crack down. 


Miami Herald

Should county commissioners make $100,000 a year? Voters may decide ... again.

Miami-Dade may try again to give its commissioners a significant raise and pay the 13 elected officials nearly $100,000 a year. That’s a whopping increase from the current $6,000-a-year stipend — a 1,566 percent raise, actually. That level of full-time compensation would bring Miami-Dade in line with other local governments, but it’s also the kind of pay hike that county voters have rejected in the past. Voters might have a chance again: A panel appointed by the county commission to recommend changes to the Miami-Dade charter is urging commissioners to put a salary-increase amendment on the November ballot as part of a larger rewrite aimed at reform.


Drug Abuse



President Trump's Budget Proposal Hopes To Tackle Opioid Epidemic

The White House sent its $4.4 trillion budget to Congress on Monday. Included in the proposal is $10 billion to fight the opioid epidemic in 2019. That money would go to programs within the Department of Health and Human Services, but other departments would also get boosts in funding to combat the crisis. And the budget also suggests some new programs, like one meant to educate children on opioid abuse. But at least some of that money would come out of other health programs already meant to address the opioid epidemic, including one that helps prevent drug abuse by Medicare recipients.

Narcan to be given to Orange County residents in light of opioid crisis

ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. - In an attempt to quell the opioid crisis that's gripped the U.S. and Central Florida, Orange County officials will be handing out the life-saving nasal spray Narcan to residents who live in areas hit hardest by the epidemic. So far this year, there have been 156 heroin-related overdoses in Orange County, nine of which were fatal, according to public health officials. Many of those cases are concentrated in an area along Orange Blossom Trail between Americana Boulevard and Kaley Avenue, a news release said.



Cost Of U.S. Opioid Epidemic Since 2001 Is $1 Trillion And Climbing

The opioid epidemic has cost the U.S. more than a trillion dollars since 2001, according to a new study, and may exceed another $500 million over the next 3 years. The report by Altarum, a nonprofit group that studies the health economy, examined CDC mortality data through June of last year. The greatest financial cost of the opioid epidemic, according to the report, is in lost earnings and productivity losses to employers. Early deaths and substance abuse disorders also take a toll on local, state and federal government through lost tax revenue.



County fights opioid epidemic with lawsuit        

Alachua County is joining in the fight against the opioid crisis. At the end of last month, the county filed a lawsuit in state court against various pharmaceutical manufacturers and doctors. The county's concerns include not just the illegal trade of opioids, but also what county officials describe as overprescribing by medical professionals. "I think our board just decided it's come to a point in the United States where this has to be addressed. Self-policing in the industry has not seemed to have done it. Our board wants to be proactive in protecting its citizens," said county spokesperson Mark Sexton.


Tampa Bay Newspapers

Pinellas Commission picks opioid litigation team

CLEARWATER – Pinellas County commissioners unanimously agreed Feb. 6 to negotiate with the No. 1-ranked firm to represent them in a lawsuit against manufacturers and distributors of prescription opioids. County Attorney Jewel White said seven firms had submitted a response to the county’s request for quotes, which a committee had thoroughly reviewed. She asked commissioners for permission to negotiate a contract with the law firms of Levin, Papantonio, Thomas, Mitchell, Rafferty & Proctor P.A., which is a consortium claiming to be among the national leaders in pharmaceutical litigation.





Local Governments Do The Heavy Lifting In Trump's Infrastructure Plan

After months and months of false starts, President Donald Trump has released his plan to fix America's "crumbling" infrastructure. It's something he promised to work on going back to the 2016 election cycle.   It's a $1.5 trillion plan that actually doesn't have that many federal dollars in it — just $200 billion of that would come from D.C. over the next 10 years. That would be paid for by cuts in the federal budget without any new revenue streams.  The rest of the $1.3 trillion would mostly come from local and state governments.


Vacation Rentals


Bradenton Herald

Proposed state rental legislation causing growing home-rule concern

Alarmed by Sen. Greg Steube’s Senate Bill 1400 that would create the “Florida Vacation Rental Act,” a delegation of hotel operators brought their concerns to the Manatee County Tourist Development Council on Monday. The bill would transfer regulation of vacation rentals from local government to the state. That would present an issue of fairness and cost jobs, Bharat Patel, Florida regional director of the Asian American Hotel Owners Association, told the council. “The bill, if it passes, will hurt the economy,” Patel said.


Sarasota Herald Tribune

Manatee County hoteliers say vacation rental bills will gut home rule

MANATEE COUNTY – An organization of hoteliers urged Manatee County and other local jurisdictions to oppose a bill by state Sen. Greg Steube, R-Bradenton, and a companion bill in the state House, that would strip local regulations of vacation rentals. “It’s an issue of fairness,” Bharat Patel, Florida regional director of the Asian-American Hotel Owners Association, told Manatee’s Tourism Development Council on Monday. Patel said the legislation would gut the long-standing concept of “home rule,” which allows counties and cities considerable leeway in governing their communities.


Central Florida 13

Use Airbnb? Orlando is getting new regulations

People who use the popular home-sharing company Airbnb will fall under some new regulations in Orlando come this summer. Orlando city commissioners approved a new ordinance Monday that allows the city to regular short-term rentals. The new rules are meant to allow more home-sharing, while also making sure it doesn't exacerbate the city's affordable housing crisis or the visitors don't become nuisances.   Among the rules -- the property owner must live on-site and be present to manage the visitor.


Tampa Bay Times

Airbnb says it generated more than $45 million in Florida tax revenue last year

Airbnb announced Monday it’s more than doubled its Florida tax revenue dollars in the last year at $45.7 million, further cementing the app that lets you rent your home out to strangers as part of the Sunshine State’s tourism landscape. Meanwhile, the hotel industry is also on an upswing. The most recent available data from Visit Florida shows hotels stays rose 4.7 percent from last year’s third quarter, with more visitors (88.2 million) coming to the state than ever before in the first nine months of 2017.