Governmental action from around the Gulf Coast.
Hayes won't run in 2012
MANATEE COUNTY — County Commissioner Donna Hayes announced she will not seek re-election in 2012 after opening a campaign account in January. Hayes represents District 5, which includes part of east Manatee and Lakewood Ranch.
Businesswoman Vanessa Baugh had previously filed to run against Hayes in the Republican primary. Baugh may still face opposition. Joanne Klement, formerly with the Bradenton Herald, and wife of former Herald editor David Klement, is considering running for the seat.
Impact fee changes have winners and losers
MANATEE COUNTY — County commissioners approved a new impact fee schedule that goes into effect Oct. 1 and ends a temporary 50% discount before its previously planned expiration. The net effect is that the new schedule further reduces fees for duplexes, apartments, manufactured homes and most commercial uses below the discounted rate. However, the new schedule raises the fees for single-family homes, large shopping centers and churches above the discounted rates, but it's still lower than the rates in effect before the 50% reduction. The fees cover roads, parks, public safety and law enforcement. The county does not assess a school impact fee, which was previously $6,572 for a single-family home, and remains suspended.
All sizes of shopping centers will now pay the same rate of nearly $7,800 per 1,000 square feet. Shopping centers of more than 100,000 square feet will now pay nearly 24% more than the discounted rate, while those of less than 50,000 square feet will pay nearly 25% less. The total fee for churches increases 138% to $1,834 per 1,000 square feet, which is 23% above the non-discounted rate. The total impact fees for each of three categories of single-family homes goes up nearly 14% from the discounted rate. The total for a three-bedroom home increases to $6,249.19. Homebuilder Pat Neal, president of Neal Communities in Manatee County, says he supports the changes.
Parker challenges for county seat
PINELLAS COUNTY — Dan Parker, who has filed to change his party affiliation from Democrat to no party affiliation, will run for the District 3 at-large county commission seat against first-term incumbent Republican Nancy Bostock. In an email, Parker writes, “I'm not especially idealogical,” and explains his registration change. “I am doing so because I feel that most people are tired of all the partisanship and constant back and forth that goes on, while nothing substantial gets done, either in Washington, or Tallahassee, or even locally.” Parker earned a bachelor's degree in economics from the University of South Florida last year. He works in customer relations for Aegon, an international insurance and investment products company. Bostock is a former Pinellas County School Board member.
Scott appoints planning council members
TALLAHASSEE — Gov. Rick Scott reappointed three members to the Southwest Florida Regional Planning Council and five to the Tampa Bay Regional Planning Council. Reappointed to the Southwest Florida council are: Felipe ColÃ³n, 29, of Sarasota, a financial adviser at Wells Fargo Advisors LLC; Michael J. Grant, 61, of Port Charlotte, the owner of Grant Medical Transportation Inc. and a former state representative; and retiree Melvin E. Karau, 77, of Fort Denaud.
Reappointed to the Tampa Bay council are: Angeleah C. Kinsler, 57, of Hillsborough, a human resources professional; Andres E. Nunez, 58, of St. Petersburg, a senior associate at Tindale, Oliver & Associates Inc.; Kim H. Vance, 50, of Tampa, an attorney at Gray Robinson; Charles D. Waller, 68, of Dade City, an attorney for Waller & Scharber; and Earl H. Young, 62, of Zephyrhills, the executive vice president for Florida Traditions Bank. All are reappointed for a term beginning June 21, 2011, and ending Oct. 1, 2012.
Michael Babb appointed to Swiftmud board
TALLAHASSEE — Gov. Rick Scott appointed Michael A. Babb, president of Two Rivers Ranch Inc., to the Southwest Florida Water Management District's governing board. Babb, of Hillsborough County, succeeds Maritza Rovira-Forino. Babb's term ends March 1, 2014.
Lee reviews aquatic center plan
LEE COUNTY — Despite numerous questions to be answered, county commissioners voted 4-1 late last month to continue negotiations with the National Swim Center Corporation, which proposes to convert City of Palms Park to a world-class aquatic center. The park has operated as the spring training facility for the Boston Red Sox, but the team moves into its new facility in the eastern part of the county next season.
The county is seeking a performance bond or letter of credit from the corporation of at least $20 million. A June letter from James Moore, the county's economic development director, contains a number of questions that remain unanswered from an earlier round of queries. Moore's letter informs the corporation that the county intends to insulate itself from development, construction and operational risks of the project. Commissioner Brian Bigelow voted against continuing with the due diligence process, suggesting that the facilities' operations be turned over to the city of Fort Myers to determine the future use of the property.