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Business Observer Friday, May 14, 2010 10 years ago

Government Digest: May 14 - May 20

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

Oil spill strategy: rigorous documentation
TALLAHASSEE — State Chief Financial Officer Alex Sink urges businesses to begin documenting assets and taking other measures before oil makes its way onshore. Sink says business owners should begin rigorous documentation given the likelihood that Attorney General Bill McCollum will initiate state-sponsored litigation against BP, the “responsible party” in the Gulf oil spill. Sink's office suggests businesses take the following actions:
• Make a detailed inventory of property and contents now, before any spill impacts;
• Make a detailed list of assets and include records in support;
• Ask canceling customers if their decision is oil spill related. Track responses;
• Calculate estimated losses for a six-week period, using sales receipts to document;
• Consider historic and future trends;
• Make sure all records are safeguarded.

Digital billboards get preliminary OK
TAMPA — The Tampa City Council gave preliminary approval to a digital billboard ordinance May 6. A final vote is scheduled May 20. Adoption of the ordinance is expected to result in the end to litigation between the city and two billboard companies: CBS Outdoor and Clear Channel Outdoor.

In the 5-2 vote, Council members Linda Saul-Sena and Mary Mulhern voted against the ordinance, preferring instead to have the results of a federal safety impact study of digital billboards before moving forward with the ordinance. The two companies would be allowed six billboards each.

Bob Buckhorn running for mayor
TAMPA — Former Tampa City Councilman Bob Buckhorn has announced he is running for mayor of Tampa. Buckhorn, president of political consulting firm Buckhorn Partners and a political analyst for Bay News 9, served two terms on the city council from 1995-2003. Buckhorn's stated priorities are job creation, expediting permitting, cutting government red tape, and encouraging business development. Term-limited Mayor Pam Iorio appointed Buckhorn to his seat on the Tampa Sports Authority.

Progress Energy freezes rates
TALLAHASSEE — Progress Energy Florida has agreed to freeze base rates at current levels through the end of 2012 under a deal with Attorney General Bill McCollum, the Florida Public Counsel's office and others.

The settlement agreement, announced May 10, was filed with the Public Service Commission and is subject to its approval, which could come at the PSC's meeting set for June 1. The energy company, based in St. Petersburg, serves more than 1.6 million Florida customers. It had petitioned the PSC for a $500 annual increase in March 2009 that was turned down in January.

As part of the agreement, Progress's median return on equity will remain at 10.5% and it will be allowed to seek to raise rates if that rate goes below 9.5% before the end of the agreement.

Other parties to the agreement include the Florida Retail Federation, Florida Industrial Power Users Group, White Springs Agricultural Chemicals, Inc., and the Department of the Navy on behalf of the Federal Executive Agencies.

Poll: Scott shifts governor's race
TALLAHASSEE — A recent advertising blitz by new gubernatorial candidate Rick Scott of Naples resulted in favorable polling results according to a recent Mason-Dixon poll.

Scott, a Republican health care executive who just entered the race last month, received 24% support from the 625 registered voters polled. State Attorney General Bill McCollum, Scott's main opponent in the Republican primary, led with 38%, but that's down from 64% of the Republican vote as polled in late March.

McCollum leads Democrat Alex Sink 45% to 36%, down from a 15 percentage point lead McCollum held in the last poll. Sink holds just a 38% to 36% lead versus Scott despite campaigning for almost a year. Republican State Sen. Paula Dockery, R-Lakeland, polled at 7%.

MEETINGS

TAMPA
The Retail Development Strategy Committee of the Ybor City Development Corporation meets at 9 a.m. Wednesday, May 19, at the Ybor City Development Corporation office, 2015 E. 7th Ave., Tampa. For more information, contact Kimberly Bogush at (813) 274-7936 or at [email protected].

MANATEE COUNTY
The Manatee County Port Authority meets at 9 a.m. Thursday, May 20, at the Port Intermodal Center, 300 Tampa Bay Way, Palmetto. For additional information contact Teresa Daugherty at (941) 722-6621, or go to www.portmanatee.com.

SARASOTA COUNTY
The county commission will hold a joint meeting with the Manatee County Commission at 9 a.m. Tuesday, May 18, at Gold Coast Eagle Distributing, 7051 Wireless Court, Lakewood Ranch.

CHARLOTTE COUNTY
The Industrial Development Authority meets at noon Wednesday, May 19, at the SunTrust Bank building, 18501 Murdock Circle, Suite 502, Port Charlotte. For more information contact Kathy Knee at (941) 627-3023.

The Tourist Development Council meets at 8:30 a.m. Thursday, May 20, in the Visitor's Bureau Conference Room, 18501 Murdock Circle, Suite 502, Port Charlotte. For more information contact Liz Parker at (941) 743-1900.

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