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Business Observer Thursday, Jan. 28, 2010 10 years ago

Government Digest 1/29/10

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A look at governmental action from around the Gulf Coast.
by: Jay Brady Government Editor

Online guide for small biz
ST. PETERSBURG — The city of St. Petersburg unveiled a one-stop online reference guide for small businesses, www.StPeteSBR.org, designed to help small businesses easily access city assistance programs, business incentives, marketing tools, databases, and more. The online guide lists more than 150 links covering city assistance, business services, database sources, and local, state, and national resources. In addition, the city's Business Assistance Center services and program offerings are featured. It is a one stop online reference guide that provides information relevant to the city's small business owners. For more information visit the Web site, or contact Kimberly Bailey, economic development coordinator, at (727) 893-7784 or email [email protected].

Fee increase postponed
SARASOTA COUNTY — County commissioners postponed an automatic increase in the road impact fee scheduled for June 1 to March 1, 2011. County staff will refine fee data and explore options, including a tiered system, and give their analysis to county commissioners this summer.

Unemployment tax targeted
TALLAHASSEE — Florida employers facing a 1,094% increase in the minimum unemployment tax rate may get relief from legislation early in the 2010 regular session. With the state unemployment rate now at 11.8%, Gov. Charlie Crist, Senate President Jeff Atwater, R-North Palm Beach, and House Speaker Larry Cretul, R-Ocala, have announced plans to delay the unemployment tax rate increases that employers would otherwise begin paying in April.

According to Cretul, “Our goal is to pass legislation early in the upcoming session that will stabilize the costs of unemployment and help businesses to plan for the financial demands the jobless claims are placing upon them.”

The minimum unemployment tax rate is set to rise from $8.40 to $100.30 per employee. The maximum rate would increase from $378 to $459 per employee.
The increases are currently effective for wages paid on or after Jan. 1, 2010 and apply to the first $8,500 of taxable wages, up from $7,000.

Bill covers appraisal firms
TALLAHASSEE — A House bill regulating appraisal management companies, sponsored by Rep. Matt Hudson, R-Naples, has been assigned to three committees. The bill requires appraisal management companies to register with the department of business and professional regulation; requires application, registration, and renewal fees for appraisal management companies; requires fingerprinting and criminal history records checks of, and provides qualifications for people who control appraisal management companies. House Bill 303 is co-sponsored by Rep. Peter Nehr, R-Tarpon Springs, and Rep. Ritch Workman, R-Melbourne. The bill's effective date is July 1, 2010.

MEETINGS

HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY
The Metropolitan Planning Organization meets at 9 a.m. Tuesday, Feb. 2, in the county commission chambers, 2nd floor, County Center, 601 E. Kennedy Blvd. For more information contact Linda Ferraro at [email protected] or call (813) 272-5940.

The Hillsborough County Commission is seeking public input on transportation projects that would be funded by a potential future one-cent transit sales tax. The Transportation Task Force has been meeting and seeking public input since 2008 to create a list of projects around the county. Those projects include transit and non-transit projects, such as light rail, bus service expansion, roadways, intersections and supporting projects. The proposed 1% sales tax would be split 75% for transit and 25% for non-transit.

A series of seven public meetings will be held starting Feb. 2. At the meetings, the county and Hillsborough Area Regional Transit will hold an open house for the first hour to show maps and information on the proposed projects. A video presentation will follow with an additional opportunity to discuss projects in-depth and provide comment. The meetings are as follows:

• 6:30 p.m., Tuesday, Feb. 2, at South County Regional Service Center, 410 30th St. S.E., Tampa;
• 6:30 p.m., Thursday, Feb. 4, at Gaither High Auditorium,16200 N. Dale Mabry Highway, Tampa;
• 6:30 p.m., Monday, Feb. 8, at Jefferson High Auditorium, 4423 W. Cypress, Tampa;
• 10 a.m., Tuesday, Feb. 9, at Sun City Center Caper Room., Atrium Building, 945 D North Course Lane, Sun City Center, Sun City Center;
• 6:30 p.m., Wednesday, Feb. 10, at Brandon Regional Service Center, 311 Pauls Drive, Brandon;
• 5:30 p.m., Monday, Feb. 15, at HCC Plant City Campus Trinkle Center, 1206 N. Park Road, Plant City;
• 5:30 p.m., Thursday, Feb. 18, Freedom High School Cafeteria, 17410 Commerce Park Blvd., New Tampa.

For more information, call Steve Valdez, Public Works Department, at (813) 307-8386.

MANATEE COUNTY
The Enterprise Zone Development Agency meets at 9:30 a.m. Monday, Feb.1, at the University IFAS and Manatee County Extension Service, Hailey Room, 1303 17th St., Palmetto.

LEE COUNTY
The Lee County Commission will hold an Innovation Hub discussion immediately following its regular meeting at 10 a.m. Tuesday, Feb. 2, in the commission Chambers, 2120 Main St., Fort Myers.

COLLIER COUNTY
The Community Redevelopment, Bayshore Gateway Triangle Advisory Board, meets at 6 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 2, at the Bayshore/Gateway CRA Office, 4069 Bayshore Drive, Naples.

SARASOTA
Meet Mayor Richard Clapp at 9 a.m. Wednesday, Feb. 3, at the Newtown Redevelopment Office, 1782 Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Way. For group or individual appointments call Veda Mahadi or Diane Taylor at (941) 954-4115.

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