Condo Owner

Spring 2017

Condo Owner publishes information vital to the business and pleasure of resort condominium ownership. Topics covered relate to real estate market trends, community association matters, rental management issues, tax and insurance updates and more.

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condo owner • S P R I N G 2 0 1 7 www.condo-owner.com 10 regional Lawmakers Seek Additional Funding For Beach Restoration TALLAHASSEE — Beach restoration is the latest area targeted for a portion of the money voters set aside over two years ago for environmental preservation. Sen. Jack Latvala, R-Clearwater, and Rep. Kath- leen Peters, R-Treasure Island, announced recently that they want to match Gov. Rick Scott's request to allocate $50 million a year for beach restoration. The money would come from the state's Land Acquisition Trust Fund, which handles money from a 2014 constitutional amendment aimed at boosting land and water conservation. The proposal (SB 1590 and HB 1213) would require the Department of Environmental Protection to develop a three-year plan for beach repairs. It also would refocus attention on sand management at inlets and seek a revision in a ranking system so the most serious erosion prob- lems are prioritized. "Unfortunately, over half of Florida's sandy beaches are eroding, and only half of those miles of eroded beaches are part of a beach project," Latvala, chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee, said in a prepared statement. "We can point fingers or offer excuses, but the simple answer is not enough funding, and this bill addresses that." Scott's proposal was in addition to $15.8 million he released last year through an emer- gency order and another $61 million that is in his proposed budget to help communities impacted by hurricanes Hermine and Matthew. destin/south walton Crab Island Emergency Buoys Re-Installed Okaloosa County officials have re-installed the buoys that compose the emergency corridor at Crab Island after many of them were cut loose last summer. The 40-foot-wide, half-mile long emergency corridor was first installed last spring and is in- tended to make it easier for emergency vessels to get in and out of Crab Island. Boats are forbidden from anchoring in the corridor, but can maneuver across it. James Puckett, facility and parks maintenance manager for Okaloosa County Public Works, said in October that only four of the original 32 buoys remained. He believed the buoys were cut loose accidentally after people anchored or tied their boats off to them. He said the new buoys have been installed with thicker cables to prevent them from being cut loose again. Puckett added that he hopes public knowl- edge of the corridor is more widespread this time around and people will know not to anchor off to the buoys. The Florida Department of Environmental Protection would not approve the department to put pilings or signs at Crab Island to inform boaters of the corridor's purpose. Destin 'Connector' To Result In Demolition Of Townhomes The last segment of the city's "crosstown con- nector" roadway will require buying and demol- ishing numerous townhomes and compensating residents who will have to be relocated, Destin officials said. The overall connector, which was planned back in the late 1990s, relieves traffic from U.S. Highway 98. About 58,000 vehicles per day pass through the portion of the highway that's ► news & happenings along the Gulf Coast DESTIN City Considers Taking Over Electrical Utility System By early August, city officials could find out whether buying and taking over Gulf Power's electric facilities in Destin is feasible. The city is paying consulting firm, WHH Enterprises Inc., $58,500 to study the costs of transitioning to a municipal electric utility system. In addition to other tasks, the company will provide the estimated cost of purchasing the electric facilities as well as a 20-year forecast of annual revenues and costs to manage them. In an interview with Northwest Florida Daily News, Mayor Scott Fischer said that since he was elected last year he has heard some complaints from residents about Gulf Power's rates being too high. In May 1986, Destin officials entered into a 30-year franchise agreement with Gulf Power. The agreement has been updated several times since then and is set to expire May 19, 2018. "It behooves us to do some research and see if we can provide a better contract for the consumer," Fischer told Northwest Florida Daily News. "They have no choice: Once the city gives (the company) the franchise, the individual has to buy their power from Gulf Power." Once the WHH's study is completed, "It could turn out that Gulf Power is the best provider for the city of Destin," he added. "But until you do the research you don't know that. I'm sure we'll be presented with a number of options." Gulf Power currently serves more than 450,000 customers in eight counties in Northwest Florida. n

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