The Pensacola City approved their Fiscal Year 2018-19 annual budget in September. The approved budget is $239.7 million, which is an increase of almost $11 million over last year’s budget. The ad valorem property tax in the city rose by 4.83% to 4.2895 mills. The aggregate rolled-back rate in the FY 2017-18 budget was 4.0919 mills. The Downtown Improvement Board’s ad valorem tax rate remained at 2.0000 mills.
You can view the City of Pensacola Proposed Budget in Brief here and you can view the FY 2018-19 city budget here .
The Escambia County 2018-19 Fiscal Year budget is $477.1 million, an increase of over $20 million from the 2017-18 budget. Revenues from property taxes increased by seven million dollars, revenues from the Half Cent Sales Tax rose by $1.35 million, revenues from the Local Option Sales Tax (LOST) rose by $1.2 million and revenues from the Tourist Development Tax (TDT) rose by $500,000. The millage rate stayed steady again at 6.6165.
You can view the Citizens Guide to the Escambia County Proposed Budget here and you can view the FY 2018-19 proposed budget in full here.
Americans for Tax Reform Founder and President Grover Norquist provides the latest tax and regulatory reform from Washington DC on the latest Toddcast.
At the Triumph Gulf Coast Board of Directors meeting it was announced that board member Stan Connally stepped down effective September 1st due to his promotion at the Southern Company. Triumph Gulf Coast Chairman Don Gaetz announced Connally’s resignation and stated that Governor Rick Scott will be picking a replacement soon.
The board received an update on the sports facility committee meeting that was held earlier. Board member Allan Bense gave an update from the committee meeting. Bense stated that the committee received good feedback from experts that presented at the meeting about the economic impact of sports facilities and that the staff would now be prepared to analyze individual sports facilities projects. One of the submitted projects is for a sports facility in Escambia County. You can find the details of the project submission here: https://www.myfloridatriumph.com/proposal-details/400/.
The other working committee, the Oyster Industry Working Group, will meet on September 25th in Panama City. A report from that committee meeting will be presented at the next full board meeting.
The board also voted to extend their working relationship with the Clark, Partington law firm until October 31st and would look at extending the relationship with Clark, Partington at that time. The board also approved the positive committee review of Triumph Executive Director Susan Skelton and voted to approve an increase in salary for Skelton. It was also announce that the state will receive the next payment from BP on April 4, 2019 and will receive annual payments on that date until the entire settlement is met.
It was announced that Triumph staff is still negotiating with the Escambia County School District on their Workforce Development Project and with the City of Pensacola on the Maintenance Repair and Overhaul Project at the Pensacola Airport. The Triumph Board of Directors voted to fund these projects at the September meeting:
The Triumph Gulf Coast Board unanimously voted to approve an education agreement with Gulf County School District (GCSD) that will result in industry certifications in subject areas pertaining to unmanned aircraft systems (UAS). The request of $750,000 represents 53.5 percent of total project cost over a 5-year period. GCSD will provide $652,000 in instructor salaries and benefits as matching funds. A minimum of 200 students will obtain Small UAS Safety certifications, Agricultural Use of UAS Technology certifications or Visual Line of Sight Operator (VOS) certifications over the five years. UAS is a high demand and growing industry sector that is well-matched to the needs of the local economy.
The Board voted to provide $13,000,000 to Gulf County for the construction of a floating dry dock. The floating dry dock will be leased out by the county to induce development of a ship repair industry at the Port of Port St. Joe. The floating dry dock, ship repair and haul out facility are expected to serve as catalysts to additional business and industry for Gulf County and the region.
The Triumph Gulf Coast Board voted to move to term sheet negotiations on a proposal from City of Apalachicola for improvements to the Scipio Creek Basin boat yard, landing docks, and the historic Popham house. This proposal is expected to improve usability for the commercial shallow draft fishing fleet and to improve the boat building program and associated Maritime Museum, a foundational tourism asset. The Triumph request of $1,100,000 represents 24.7 percent of total project cost of $4,454,596 over the 15-year (2010 – 2025) implementation of the multi-facility Port of Apalachicola strategic plan. It is expected that the project will allow retention of existing jobs and creation of new ones in the shrimping and off-shore fishing sector, as well as net new employees at the boatyard and new full- and part-time employees at the Maritime Museum. Taken together, the projects are expected to create 13 to 16 new employees, with additional spin-off employment created due to fishing and tourism activity.
The Triumph Gulf Coast Board approved a grant award to the Tom P. Haney Technical Center in Bay County to modernize its 40 year-old HVAC training program. The program includes a pilot program requiring Haney to offer skills upgrade training to graduates using the new equipment and certification programs. The grant request is for $615,000.
A motion was approved by the Triumph Gulf Coast Board to move to a term sheet negotiation with The Bay Youth Summer Work Program. The students participating in the program will benefit from targeted intervention to encourage workplace skills and additional training as well as industry recognized certifications. The program will accept from 30 to 40 students into the summer work program in the initial year. The funding request of $86,780 represents 67.8 percent of the total project cost. The match is provided by community contributions and Gulf Coast State College.
Santa Rosa County
The Triumph Gulf Coast Board voted to move forward to a grant award agreement for $8.5M in site development at Whiting Aviation Park. The project, expected to create over 200 high paying jobs, is built on the investment Santa Rosa County made to purchase 267-acres adjacent to NAS Whiting Field and a unique MOU with The Department of the Navy for “through the fence” accesses for private companies. The total project cost is $17,704,975.
The Pensacola City Council and Escambia County Commission voted in September to fund a portion of the Pensacola Airport’s Maintenance Repair and Overhaul (MRO) Triumph Gulf Coast Project. The Triumph Gulf Coast Board of Directors voted earlier this summer to commit $56 million to the project pending the securing of additional state and federal government funding.
The initial request to the Escambia County Commission was for $12 million to support the MRO project. The commission spent a great deal of time discussing the amount of funding and when the payments should be made. Commissioner Doug Underhill spoke against the funding, stating that the cost per job was too high to justify the expenditure. Commissioner Lumon May stated he would support the project but wanted that contingent on all other government funding partners fulfilling their commitments by the year 2023. City consultant Dave Penzone stated that the city has been working to front load as much of the funding as possible.
The commission voted 4-1 to support the project with $10 million from Local Option Sales Tax (LOST) funds. The $10 million payment will be spread over four years and includes a forgiveness of city debt to the county for funding of Phase One of the ST-Aerospace project. So the county will not be making any payments for at least two more years.
The city council voted unanimously to support a $10 million contribution to the project. Mayor Ashton Hayward presented the proposal at the September council meeting. Hayward thanked all the parties that have been involved with the project including personally thanking each county commissioner for their support. Councilwoman Jewel Cannada-Wynn stated that she would support the project but wanted to see an effort to employ citizens from some of the underprivileged communities at ST-Aerospace.
At the September Committee of the Whole meeting, the Escambia County Commission voted to move forward with negotiations with Navy Federal Credit Union to sell 100 acres of the Outlying Field 8 (OLF-8) property. This development came as the commission discussed the future of the OLF-8 property and how the land should be developed once the county takes possession of it in the coming months. Kara Cardona, Navy Federal’s Vice President of Greater Pensacola Operations addressed the commission stating that Navy Federal had some plans on how they would use the 100 acres and would share them with the commission.
Commission Chairman Jeff Bergosh initially brought the item forward over his concerns over the county’s $30 million Triumph Gulf Coast proposal. Bergosh wanted to make sure that the property is developed in a way that keep the proposal viable under Triumph’s requirements. Part of Commissioner Bergosh’s concerns stemmed from the thought that any residential development of the property might jeopardize Triumph funding. Commissioner Grover Robinson pointed out that some residential development within the property might provide positive outcomes, including decreased traffic.
The commission ultimately voted to develop a Request for Proposal (RFP) for a professional firm to develop a Master Plan for the OLF-8 property. Bergosh stated that he wanted input from county staff, economic development professionals and the community in selecting this firm. The full commission will have to vote to approve the firm that will develop that Master Plan at a later meeting. The OLF-8 property is set to be transferred to the county in late 2018 or early 2019.
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On the latest Toddcast, learn about the Pensacola Police Department’s operations with Chief Tommi Lyter. Chief Lyter talks about some of the departments new initiatives and how new officers are trained to protect our city.