A look at governmental action from around the Gulf Coast.
Disaster emergency loans for coastal businesses
TALLAHASSEE — Small businesses along the Florida coast impacted by the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf could become eligible for Small Business Administration (SBA) disaster loans and funds from the Florida Small Business Emergency Loan Program.
State CFO Alex Sink requested the SBA to expedite federal disaster loans and suspend loan repayments for Florida coastal businesses impacted by the oil spill. The state emergency loan program provides short-term emergency funds to small businesses as a form of bridge loan between the time a disaster strikes and when a business secures other resources.
Economic development property tax exemption
SARASOTA COUNTY — County Commissioners adopted an ordinance to establish an economic development property tax exemption for qualifying new businesses and existing businesses that want to expand. State law gives County Commissioners the authority to grant a property tax exemption if voters approve it in a referendum. In late May, commissioners will consider placing the referendum on the Aug. 24 primary election ballot.
Collier relaxes impact fee regs
COLLIER COUNTY — County Commissioners approved changes in the impact fee program for existing commercial redevelopment allowing additional businesses to participate.
The expanded program includes buildings that have had a certificate of occupancy for at least three years. The county charges some of the highest impact fees in the state and continues to suffer from the development slowdown. The original program provided qualifying businesses an exemption from the payment of impact fees (excluding water and sewer) for changes of use in existing commercial buildings that have had a certificate of occupancy for at least five years.
Other changes include eliminating impact fee review for changes of use in order to obtain a zoning certificate and/or a business tax receipt, and directing the county manager to explore alternative impact fee rates for specialty medical offices, small medical offices and/or other medical type uses with lesser impacts than a traditional medical office. The commission also directed that the impact fee ordinance be amended to allow impact fee credits to run in perpetuity with the land until used or transferred.
County adds to public lands inventory
SARASOTA COUNTY — County commissioners approved the purchase of the 3,890-acre Longino Ranch in eastern Sarasota County. The Longino property is adjacent to the Walton Ranch, which commissioners agreed to purchase April 14 with the Southwest Florida Water Management District. The Longino property is in the Myakka Ranchlands, one of the priority sites in the county's environmentally sensitive lands program. The Longino Ranch also will be purchased in partnership with the Southwest Florida Water Management District.
Annexation deal approved
NORTH PORT — The city of North Port and Sarasota County commissioners approved a joint planning agreement (JPA) between the county, the city, the Myakka Mobile Home Park and Kirun, Inc. North Port plans to annex the properties where the mobile home park is located. The JPA provides for the city's future land use designation and an opportunity to connect to the city's water and sewer system. The properties are under a consent order from Sarasota County (as the delegate of the Florida Department of Environmental Protection) to repair and eventually abandon a malfunctioning wastewater treatment plant.
A transportation tax referendum Town Hall meeting will be held at 6 p.m. Thursday, May 13, at All People's Life Center, 6105 E. Sligh Ave., Tampa. County Commissioners are considering ballot language for a transportation referendum that proposes a one-cent sales tax for rail and other transportation projects. The referendum will be voted on in November.
The City Council, sitting as the Community Redevelopment Agency, meets at 9 a.m., Thursday, May 13, at City Council chambers, Old City Hall, 315 E. Kennedy Blvd., Third Floor, Tampa.
The Tourist Development Council meets at 9 a.m. Monday, May 10, at Holmes Beach City Hall, 5801 Marina Drive, Holmes Beach.
The Murdock Village Community Redevelopment Agency meets at 5:30 p.m. Monday, May 10, in room 106B of the administration center, 18500 Murdock Circle. For more information contact Kathy Knee at (941) 627-3023.
The Tourist Development Council meets at 8:30 a.m. Thursday, May 13, in the visitor's bureau conference room, suite 502, 18501 Murdock Circle, Port Charlotte. For more information contact Liz Parker at (941) 743-1900.
The Economic Development Working Group meets at 1:30 p.m. Friday, May 14 at the SunTrust building, suite 502, 18501 Murdock Circle, Port Charlotte. For more information, contact Simone Petche at (941) 627-3023.
The Horizon Council general membership meets at 8:30 a.m. Friday, May 14 at the Lee County economic development office, 12800 University Drive, Suite 325, Ft. Myers
The Community Redevelopment Agency, Bayshore Gateway Triangle Local Advisory Board, will meet at 6 p.m. Tuesday, May 11, at the Bayshore Gateway Triangle CRA office, 4069 Bayshore Drive, Naples.