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Because Democracy Works.

 
Executive Summary

The collection of fees and taxes on the holders of Florida Submerged Land Leases has been unfairly implemented for some time. Owners of single family properties have seen little change, while owners in multi-family private properties have been shouldering an ever increasing expense burden. This issue came to a head in 2008 when the DEP attempted to raise land lease fees on multi-family docks as much as 350%. In the 2009 session, after failing to amend a bill containing a fee increase of 425%, the bill was firmly defeated. To prevent DEP from using these tactics in the future the following steps have occurred:

  • Florida Homeowners for Fair Treatment established – Fall 2008
  • FHFT lobbyist engaged - Spring 2009
  • Rep Frishe & Sen Jones enlisted as legislative sponsors – Summer 2009
  • Initial Senate Bill introduced during 2010 session
  • No companion House Bill
  • Unanimous support from Pinellas Delegation for 2011 Bill – November 2010
  • Companion Bills introduced by Frishe and Jones – January 2011
  • Both Bills died in committee during 2011 session
  • HB 13 Bill filed by Frishe – June 2011
  • SB 88 Bill filed by Latvala – June 2011
  • Unanimous passage by all committees in 2012 session
  • Passed 40-0 on 3/8/2012
  • Approved by Governor Scott 5/4/2012
  • Became Law 7/1/2012
A PARTIAL VICTORY AT BEST!


This history resource page is kept to allow you to look back at previous updates as a reference only.

Please go to the home page for the most current updates to avoid any confusion.

In this type of political environment, things do change quickly and the home page will keep you informed via the latest updates. The information below is for your reference.


December 19, 2012

It is imperative that we continue to pursue our goals to bring equity to the submerged land lease program. Last month, we garnered the support of newly elected Representative Kathleen Peters to lead our cause in the Florida House. We are extremely pleased to announce that, this week, we had an excellent meeting with newly elected Senator Jeff Brandes and gained his commitment to sponsor our legislation in the Florida Senate. Representative Peters has already submitted our 2013 language to bill drafting! Early next year we will be able to start aggressively promoting our new legislation.

For us to win this fight, we are still in need of your financial support to achieve our goals. Since we began this campaign in 2008, FHFT has received thousands of dollars in contributions from individuals, condo associations and professional support organizations, ranging from $10 to $3,000. Rather than ask those folks to do more, we are hopeful that those of you who have yet to contribute, especially the condo associations, will see fit to contribute in 2013. As you all know, you will be receiving a reduction of your 2013 annual lease fee based on the achievements we made with 2012 legislation. We would hope you would choose to direct a portion of this savings for your association to our 2013 efforts. Most associations will see savings in the thousands. Assigning $500 to FHFT for our 2013 campaign would go a long way to ensuring our success. Now would be a great time to add this commitment to the agenda for your January board meeting. As always, for those who have contributed, Thank You!

State Representative-Elect Kathleen Peters is ready to go to work. Ms. Peters won her election on November 6th and will be sworn in as a Member of the Florida House of Representatives during the Legislature’s Organizational Session on November 20th. Prior to the election, Ms. Peters indicated she would use one of her six allotted bill slots to file legislation to enhance submerged land lease fairness, strengthening the gains we achieved last year. She needs to hear from you to be reminded of the importance of submerged land lease reforms, not only for District 69, but for residents throughout Florida.

Please take a moment to send a short note of congratulations to Representative-Elect Peters on becoming the new Representative for District 69, and reminding her to file this important legislation.

As you have done before, it is imperative that all FHFT member associations meet with their legislative representatives to foster a strong chorus of “legislative voices,” as we did with Representative Frishe, Senator Fasano and Senator Latvala in years past. With term limits and redistricting, we must always be diligent in educating policymakers and advocating for equitable submerged land lease support.

 

October 18, 2012

With the 2013 Legislative Session well within sight, we are already gearing up for our 2013 campaign. Even at this early date, it is critical that we engage with our most likely allies in our 2013 Campaign for Fairness.

Along with our lobbyist, Travis Moore, we have been meeting with various legislative candidates such as Kathleen Peters who is running for Representative Frishe’s former seat and has his strong support. (This is newly created District 69, after redistricting.) After reviewing our history, issues, current status and our goals moving forward, Ms. Peters has agreed, if elected, to sponsor equitable, residential submerged land lease legislation.

It is imperative that all FHFT member associations be meeting with legislative candidates so as to foster a strong chorus of “legislative voices”, the same way Representative Frishe, Senator Fasano, Senator Latvala, etc. have been over the past few years. With term limits and redistricting, we must always be diligent in educating policymakers and advocating for residential submerged land lease support.

Also, in addition to Ms. Peter’s support, we already have a post-election meeting scheduled to engage a Senate sponsor.

September 28, 2012

For those of interested in how the passage of HB13 actually became law, the new Florida statute 253.0347, it may be read here.

September 21, 2012

As noted in our August update, the 2013 Legislative Session is just around the corner and it is imperative that FHFT continue to build on the success we had during the 2012 Legislative Session with the passage of HB13. Please remember, our ultimate goal is to achieve true parity, for single and multi-family homes, in the treatment of submerged land lease fees. There is more hard work ahead this year!

Where are the significant savings in HB 13? We have told you about the extension of the standard lease term from 5 years to ten, and also the elimination of the 6% transfer fee when a homesteaded property is sold. However, the real savings accrue from the way in which lease fee payments for multi-family residences are now being calculated since our law went into effect July 1st. Historically, single family properties have been granted an exemption from fees for dock square footage which did not exceed ten times the linear feet of shoreline of the property. Before HB 13, multi-family properties that exceeded the exemption area, by even one square foot, were liable for fees on all of their dock area. Now, with the passage of HB 13, multi-family properties will only owe fees on that portion of their docks that exceed the exempted area.

For example, if an association has 1200 linear feet of shoreline, the savings on an annual submerged land lease bill will be almost $2000! (1200’ x 10 x $0.160194 = $1,922.33) To calculate your association’s savings, simply replace 1200’ with your own frontage number in the above calculation. These reductions in lease fees can amount to a significant savings for most associations, ranging from 12% to 50%+.

Mr. Scott Woolam (Scott.Woolam@dep.state.fl.us), Chief of Public Land Administration, advises applicable invoices for submerged land leases will be revised automatically to account for the reduction in fees. Associations are not required to contact the DEP to get the reduction. If you have already paid prior to July 1st, 2012 your fee will be revised on your next due date. Invoices paid prior to July 1st, 2012 will not be prorated. For those invoices coming due after July 1st, 2012 the DEP is already in the process of adjusting these bills. I would encourage any questions regarding this reduction in lease fees be directed to your local DEP office.

Through the sustained five year effort by FHFT, associations are now beginning to realize substantial savings. We are not done, and must continue our campaign for parity. To support our continued efforts, FHFT would like you to consider a contribution of 25% of the savings from your reduced lease fees.

This is a small amount compared to the savings associations will enjoy in the future. Our ultimate goal is exemption from these lease fees altogether but this cannot be accomplished without your support. For those who have donated: Thank You! FHFT has worked hard to save you money and bring fairness to this issue.

August 24, 2012

The 2013 Legislative Session is just around the corner and it is imperative that FHFT build off the success we had during the 2012 Legislative Session with the passage of HB13. The General Election is November 6th and now is the time to start getting the attention of as many legislative candidates as possible around the state. These potential policy makers need to be aware of FHFT member communities and be very clear as to what FHFT’s priorities are and will be: fair and equal treatment in the administration of the submerged land lease program for all residential property.

Please be aware that FHFT is on the ground in many legislative contests and that requires an investment. We are here to be a resource for you should you need to know how best to approach candidates to solicit their support for your communities’ cause. Attending legislative forums, letting other unit owners know of our priorities, speaking with your legislators are some of the ways to promote our cause. We need to continue to build our network of like-minded associations so we can promote our strength in numbers.

We are also raising funds to make certain we have an advocacy program in place following the election. We will be formulating legislation to address the next steps toward homeowner equality, soliciting sponsorship of our bills, rallying statewide support for those bills, etc.

FHFT has taken big steps forward with stopping DEP fee increases (over 425% of your current fee) thus saving your association thousands of dollars in submerged land lease fees over the past few years, in addition to FINALLY reducing the financial inequalities faced by Florida’s waterfront condominiums through the passage of HB13. As of July 1, 2012, our submerged land lease legislation is now Florida law. Multi-family residences no longer have to pay a 6% fee to the state on the value of a slip when a homesteaded residence is sold. In addition, the standard term of a submerged land lease and its associated renewal fee is now 10 years instead of 5 years.

July 23, 2012

Dear Fellow Supporters,

As of July 1, 2012, our Submerged Land Lease legislation is now Florida law. With the signing of HB13/SB 88, and the unwavering support of House Whip Jim Frishe, we were able to take a significant step forward towards our goal. Multi-family residences no longer have to pay a 6% fee to the state on the value of a slip when a homesteaded residence is sold. In addition, the standard term of a submerged land lease and its associated renewal fee is now 10 years instead of 5 years.

Soon, we will be renewing our efforts to reach our ultimate goal which is equal treatment under the law for multi-family and single family residences. Our legislative champion, Representative Jim Frishe, who has worked tirelessly on our behalf for the last four years, is seeking to fill the newly created District 22 Senate seat. The primary election for this new position, August 14th 2012, will quickly be upon us. It would be a set back if Jim Frishe could not return to Tallahassee as our champion, after already committing to additional support next year in moving our efforts forward toward our ultimate goal.

May 6, 2012

We commend Governor Scott for signing this important piece of legislation that begins to bring some equity to the administration of the submerged land lease program. Representative Jim Frishe and Senator Jack Latvala were our courageous legislative leaders who fought for these changes and were the driving force behind the success of this legislation. We congratulate these leaders, along with the entire Florida Legislature, for recognizing the inequalities we have faced for so many years and finally passing legislation to bring some needed fairness to this program. We also congratulate our lobbyist, Travis Moore, who was instrumental in coordinating our efforts to make this a success.

Within the next few months, we will renew our efforts to reach our ultimate goal which is exemption from all lease fees and associated taxes and charges. We will continue to keep you updated as we develop our strategy for the next, and hopefully final, phase.

Again, many thanks to all of you who have helped make this happen! Your voices were heard across the state and we are proud of our success. It is only through our team effort that we have finally succeeded.


April 3, 2012

NEWS

"Power of the People"

"Local Group Gets State-wide win in Fight for Submerged Land Lease Equality"

The Island Reporter has written an article about our passage of CB88 and HB 13 during the legislative session.

If you did not get a copy of the Island Reporter delivered to your home, you can go to their site at

http://www.theislandreporter.com and open the April issue.


March 14, 2012

As the excitement continues surrounding HB13/SB88 successfully passing through the Legislature, we still have one goal left for this Session. We need Governor Rick Scott to sign our bill into law.

Please go to our website to email Governor Scott with the message: We respectfully request your signature on HB13 that begins to address the inequities of the submerged land lease program.

Our website is set up and ready to go and is only a mouse click away. Please encourage as many people as possible to spread the word and send the message. We need to show Governor Scott the importance of this legislation that begins to protect the citizens of Florida from unfair treatment.

Again, many thanks to all of you who have helped make this happen! Your voices were heard across the state and we are proud of our success.


February 29, 2012

Great news! Below is a press release from Representative Frishe. HB13 passed the final hurdle in the House with 111 Yeas: 0 Nays.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:                                                       
February 29, 2012
                                                                                              
REPRESENTATIVE FRISHE’S SOVEREIGNTY SUBMERGED LANDS LEGISLATION UNANIMOUSLY PASSES FLORIDA HOUSE
Tallahassee, Fla.- Today the Florida House unanimously passed HB 13 Sovereignty Submerged Lands by Representative Jim Frishe (R-St. Petersburg). The bill will mitigate the inequities and over-regulation of the submerged land lease program as it affects multi-family residences.
“This bill restores equality in dock lease costs between private homes and multi-family homes. We are a country of justice and equality and this legislation is one example where we show that,” said Representative Jim Frishe.
“Pinellas County, for example, is an aquatic preserve that needs careful attention to maintain its environmental balance.  However, we should never treat citizens inequitably in accomplishing our goal of conserving the environment that draws so many to our great state”. 
Currently, multi-family residences are being charged at the higher commercial property rate compared to single family residences that are charged at the lesser private residence rate. HB 13 represents a compromise with the Florida Department of Environmental Protection, who staff the Improvement Trust Fund.
HB 13 previously passed three committees in the House without a dissenting vote. The bill, now in Senate messages, must be voted on by the Florida Senate before being sent to the Governor to be signed into law.


February 26, 2012

More great news! On February 22nd our HB13 unanimously passed the last House committee, the State Affairs Committee with 16 Yeas: 0 Nays. Because of your relentless support we are continuing to make great progress, having passed all the House committees with flying colors.

However, our companion bill, SB88, is still in the General Government Appropriations subcommittee. SB88 NEEDS TO BE WITHDRAWN from this subcommittee in order to continue its progress through this legislative session. There are only 2 weeks left and TIME IS OF THE ESSENCE: IMMEDIATE ACTION IS NEEDED. Once again, please go to our website to email Senator Alan Hays, Chair of General Government Appropriations subcommittee, along with Representative Frishe and Senator Latvala.

Subject: "Senator Hays: Please withdraw SB88 from the General Government Appropriations subcommittee"

Message: "I respectfully request that SB88, regarding submerged land leases, be withdrawn from the General Government Appropriations subcommittee. Thank you."

The Take Action page is ready to go and it is only a simple mouse click away. Please remember to check "my legislators" so they continue to be alerted to this issue.

We appreciate your continued support. Please forward this update to as many people as possible so that we can show how important this issue is.

Our many thanks to all of you who have continued to fund our progress. Your donations are greatly appreciated.


February 15, 2012

Great news! On February 14th our HB13 unanimously passed the Agriculture and Natural Resources Appropriations Subcommittee with 13 Yeas: 0 Nays. Because of your relentless support we are making great progress during the current Legislative Session.

The State Affairs Committee, chaired by Representative Seth McKeel, is our final House committee, and the Budget Committee, chaired by Senator JD Alexander, is our final Senate committee. Once again, please go to our website to email Chair McKeel and Chair Alexander urging them to agenda our bill. Also, continue copying our sponsors, Representative Frishe and Senator Latvala. The message is direct:

Subject: “Agenda SB88 in Budget Committee//Agenda HB13 in State Affairs Committee”
Message: “SB88/HB13 is important legislation which begins to rectify the inequities of the submerged land lease program. HB13 has just passed the Agriculture and Natural Resources Appropriations Subcommittee 13-0. Please agenda SB88/HB13 immediately.”

The Take Action page is ready to go and it is only a simple mouse click away. Please remember to check “my legislators” so they continue to be alerted to this issue.


February 7, 2012

As the 2012 legislative session continues we need to push Representative Trudi Williams, Chair of the Agriculture and Natural Resources Appropriations Subcommittee, to agenda HB 13. Our website is set up to target Chair Trudi Williams, Representative Jim Frishe (House sponsor), and Senator Jack Latvala (Senate sponsor).

Please click here to be take to the Email Your Legislator page. Representative Trudi Williams as well as the sponsors of our bill will be sent your message. The subject (“We need HB13 to be heard”) and message (“HB13 starts the process of addressing the inequities of the submerged land lease program. Please agenda this item.”) are ready to go and it is only a simple mouse click away. Please remember to check “my legislators” so they continue to be alerted to this issue.

We appreciate your continued support. Please forward this update to as many people as possible so that we can show how important this issue is.

Our many thanks to all of you who have continued to fund our progress. Your donations are greatly appreciated.


January 12, 2012

The 2012 legislature is off to a rousing start and our bills remain poised for progress. As noted previously, there are only 3 committee meetings left to go: Agriculture and Natural Resources Appropriations Subcommittee and State Affairs Committee in the House and the Budget Committee in the Senate.

Our local legislators and lobbyist remain very involved and committed to our cause. As our bills progress we may attempt to amend some language, based on advice from Tallahassee. However, we will do nothing to jeopardize the ultimate success of the current bills.

It is still of utmost importance for you to continue to rally your legislators via direct contact in order to drive our points home. Representative Jim Frishe and Senator Jack Latvala need to hear from other legislators who want the problem fixed for their constituents. Convince your neighbors and friends to join in this effort to call/email/write their legislators. Representative Frishe and Senator Latvala need to know they have multi-jurisdictional support to push our legislation through and perhaps amend our current language! Our Email Your Legislator page is set up for you to use to email your legislators. The subject and the comment space are left blank for you fill in accordingly. Your input is vital as we continue to push our legislation.

Continued thanks to the contributors who fund our progress. We are still in need of funds to help us through this 2012 Session. Please send what you can to:


December 5, 2011

The holiday season is just around the corner. Legislators will be returning to their districts this week as the current committee meetings come to an end. When the 2012 Legislative Session starts on January 10, 2012, the remaining committee meetings will take place. This will include our final Senate meeting and 2 more House committee meetings.

We now have a window of opportunity to put more pressure on. It is still critically important for YOU to rally local legislative support. We are working hard for you in Tallahassee, but need YOU to get with your local legislators to drive our points home. Representative Frishe and Senator Latvala need to hear from other Florida legislators to know that they will have the statewide support needed to push our legislation through and hopefully add additional beneficial language to the proposed bills.

We have created a petition for you to print out from our website. Pass it around your association, get with your property manager, get with other associations, friends, neighbors, take it to a party. Do whatever it takes to get a page or two of signatures from interested and supportive people.

Then we would like you to:

1. Deliver the signed petition to your local legislators. Give it to them personally. If they are not available give it to their legislative assistant. Do whatever it takes to get this petition to their office. Find out who actually received the petition. Let them know: “This is a problem. We need for you to get with Representative Frishe & Senator Latvala. Will you do that?”

2. Please forward the contact information of the person you gave the petition to, to me. I will, in turn, get this information to our lobbyist, Travis Moore, who will then follow up with your legislators. He will be asking them: “Can we count on you to contact Representative Frishe and Senator Latvala to make sure HB13 and SB88 addresses our issues?”

3. This gives us accountability and shows how organized and coordinated our efforts are. WE NEED YOUR HELP TO ACCOMPLISH THIS!

Now is the time to concentrate our efforts. If we can get your legislators actively communicating with Frishe & Latvala we can address more of our issues and get more language changes. This is the ONLY way we can accomplish this.

Our bill has traction right now and is getting attention. However, with the budget shortfalls, our battle is more difficult. Please use the time between now and January 10th to push your local legislators to contact Frishe and Latvala. Be sure to let me know who the contact is.


November 21, 2011

Great news! On November 15, 2011 HB13 passed the House Agriculture and Natural Resources Subcommittee. The vote was: Yeas 14  Nays 0. We are off to a great start on the House side with 2 remaining committees to go: Agriculture and Natural Resources Appropriations Subcommittee and State Affairs Committee.

On the Senate side we still have 1 committee meeting to go: Budget Committee.

The community event held on November 7, 2011 went well. There was a good dialogue between Representative Jim Frishe and the support group. Some key points emphasized that our ultimate goal of fair and equitable treatment cannot be accomplished in one session. As Representative Frishe stated we have to eat the cookie “one bite at a time”.

In addition, it is of utmost importance for YOU to rally your legislators. We need for YOU to get with YOUR legislators and drive our points home. Representative Frishe and Senator Jack Latvala need to hear from OTHER legislators who want the problem fixed for their constituents. Call/email/write your legislators. Convince your neighbors and friends to join in this effort. Representative Frishe and Senator Latvala need to hear from other Florida legislators and know that they will have the support to push our legislation through and to accomplish more than our current language!

You can click on the Email Your Legislator link and send your comments to Tallahassee.


November 2, 2011

Time To Rally - Mark Your Calendar!

We have finally scheduled a Community Meeting with our Representative Jim Frishe!

Date: November 7th, 2011 (Monday)
Time: 6:30 PM to 8:00 PM
Location: The Island Chapel
1271 Pinellas Bayway South
Tierra Verde, FL 33715

We urge everyone interested in resolving the significant inequities which exist in Florida’s submerged land lease program to come by and meet one of our Legislative Champions working to fix this problem. Let him know how the situation affects you as a condominium owner and a tax payer. We finally have an opportunity to understand the submerged land lease issue and how Tallahassee (DEP) has been taking advantage of you and what your elected officials are going to do about it.

It is so important that we get as many people as possible to attend this event so House Majority Whip Jim Frishe is aware of the interest in getting as much done on this issue this session as possible. If we want him to care, we need to show him that constituents and citizens and VOTERS care. We welcome supporters from all parts of Florida to rally behind Representative Frishe on this extremely important issue. Please mark your calendar and plan on attending. Your support is vital!


Oct 28, 2011 Time To Rally – Action Needed to Amend Bill Language!

As committee meetings continue, we are now at a point that the language in HB 13 and SB 88 needs to be addressed. We greatly appreciate the efforts of Representative Frishe and Senator Latvala to sponsor our legislation that begins to address the inequitable situation we have faced for many years. HB 13/ SB 88 initiates the process and is a good starting vehicle but it does NOT fix most of the issues.

We need to go further.

The current language in HB 13 & SB 88 only exempts multi-family residences from the 6% fee due upon the transfer of ownership of the slip/dock, and then it is only for those with homestead exemption. If you don’t qualify for homestead exemption, the current language provides no relief from any of the submerged land lease fees.

The revised language (HB13 and SB88) that is now on our website addresses all of the issues:
Section 1: more clearly defines private residential, both single & multi-family.
Section 2 (b): allows for the density issue of multi-family residences (so we could now qualify for lease fee exemption) and exempts all the add-on fees (renewal fees, taxes, 6% maintenance fees, 6% of assessments, etc).
Section 2 (c): allows for exemption of 6% fee due upon transfer of slip ownership of any multi-family residence.

These are the changes that need to happen to allow private multi-family residences to be treated fairly and not lumped in with commercial entities.

To achieve these goals we need YOU to aggressively push YOUR LEGISLATORS. Your legislators need to get with Representative Frishe & Senator Latvala and pledge their support for these necessary changes. You, as constituents, need your legislators to work for you!! They need to communicate their concerns (for you as their constituents) that this unfair administration of the submerged land lease program needs to be fixed, once and for all.

You need to emphasize that “we cannot afford these lease fees and all the exorbitant add-on fees associated with it. It is not fair to use our money from these unfair fees to balance the budget”. Your legislators need to hear from you. Your message to them should be: “We need you to support the language changes needed to fix the problem & create a fair solution.”

Call your legislators. Print out our revised language (HB13 and SB88)
and give it to them (mail/email/personal delivery to their office) (Tips for interacting with your elected officials). For changes to occur you need to carry the message to your legislators: “I need for you to be working on the submerged land lease issue.” They, in turn, need to get with their colleagues, House Majority Whip Frishe and Senator Latvala.

Representative Frishe and Senator Latvala need STRONG LEGISLATIVE SUPPORT.

Please go to “email your legislator”. We have purposefully left the subject/message blank. We do not want to send mass identical emails. It is important for you to email your legislators with your own message. In a few sentences state that HB13/SB88 language needs to be revised and state why. Once you type in your address & click on “find my legislators”, your message will automatically go to your legislators. THIS IS VERY IMPORTANT. Push for action by your legislators. There is strength in numbers. There will be positive results by this strength!

For those who have contributed to our coalition….a big THANK YOU! With your support we are able to continue moving forward on our issues.


Oct 22, 2011

New items:

Nervous about calling or talking with your elected officials? Don't be, they actually enjoy talking with you and they value your input as long as you are organized and polite. Here's some tips on interacting with your elected officials.

Update to langage on combined bills is located here: HB13 and SB88.


October 7, 2011

We are off to a great start!

We passed our first committee meeting, Environmental Preservation & Conservation, with flying colors!! The vote was unanimous: Yeas 5 Nays 0.

Our thanks to everyone for your support with emails, phone calls, and letters. Keep up the good work! We have one more Senate committee (Budget) and three House committees where our bill needs to be heard. As our legislation progresses it will be very important to keep the pressure on.

For those who have contributed to our coalition….a big THANK YOU! With your support we are able to continue moving forward on our issues.


October 3, 2011

Our renewed campaign to finally achieve reform in the submerged land lease program, during the 2012 Legislative session, has begun. Legislative Committee meetings in Tallahassee have started! Our first Senate Committee meeting, with the Environmental Preservation and Conservation Committee, is scheduled this Wednesday, October 5, 2011, at 10:45 AM.

As we did last year, we have prepared easy to send, targeted messages for each committee. Please go to our email page to send the automated message. We want SB88 to pass as our legislation begins to work its way through the various committees. Your continued support is vital as we need to let our legislators know that the submerged land lease program as it is currently administered is very unfair and discriminatory.

Everything is set up for your convenience. It’s only a couple of mouse clicks. Thank you all so much for your continuing support! Remember that this is the first step and with time we will move closer to our ultimate goal of a fair and equitable solution.

We would also like to ask for continued donations to ensure we can carry the fight successfully in Tallahassee. Thank you to those who have done their part. FHFT has been successful in keeping the submerged land lease fees from the exorbitant 425% increases!!


September 9, 2011

This year, because the Legislative Session will start early, we already have our Summer is over and we are getting ready for the 2012 Florida Legislative Session. It is time to get back to work! For those of you new to our campaign, this will be the fourth legislative session we have worked to bring basic fairness to Florida’s submerged land lease fee structure, imposed by the Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP). We have been making incremental progress each year.

Two bills filed. Senate Bill SB88 that was filed by Senator Jack Latvala, and its companion House Bill HB13 that was filed by Representative and Majority Whip Jim Frishe, are both available for viewing here our website.

Committee meetings start September 19, 2011 and we are raring to go. SB88 has just received two Senate Committee references, in the following order: Environmental Preservation & Conservation; Budget. Representative Frishe and Senator Latvala are working closely together and are very committed to our legislation. We need to fix this problem!

Our lobbyist Travis Moore has been visiting many associations over the past few months, spreading the word and generating support.

For those who have contributed to our coalition….a big THANK YOU! With your support we are able to continue moving forward on our issues. With the success we had last session in getting our bill through the House with 100% unanimous support, I feel we are in a good position for getting our legislation in place.

For those who have contributed to our coalition….a big THANK YOU! With your support we are able to continue moving forward on our issues.

Click here to find the potential impact of increased fees on YOUR submerged land lease.


June 7, 2011

It seems as though I just sent you our summary of the 2011 Legislative session, where we did well, but were stopped just short of our goal of beginning to reign in the DEP. What? You thought there would be a summer lull while we prepared for next year’s session. Not on your life!

It has just come to our attention that the DEP is now interpreting “income, whether direct or indirect” and specifying the collection of these 6% fees in greater detail. Click here to see a copy of a current DEP audit now taking place at a condominium association located on Tierra Verde, so you might see what the DEP is now trying to enforce. They want to collect 6%  fees on any income related to docks on submerged lands. They are viewing everything as “income”, even though the collection of maintenance fees and assessments as well as the collection of the annual submerged land lease fee is strictly passed through as an expense to all owners. This audit is a “do over” of the annual income reporting forms completed and submitted every year, and is an effort to collect more money by defining everything as income. 

Also, the determination of “fair market value” of a boat slip that is sold is in play. Boat slips that are sold with a unit must have a fair market value of the slip determined, in order to calculate the 6% due to the DEP.  The tax appraiser’s value is completely inaccurate for the purpose of determining value, particularly when a unit is in bank foreclosure and/or a short sale occurs. These are just some of the issues that are coming out of this audit. Some of you may have gotten your audits, but for those who haven’t, you need to be aware of how aggressive and intimidating the DEP is now becoming.

The reason I am bringing this to your attention is that we need YOUR SUPPORT, as well as your board and your management companies, now more than ever in an effort to fight these new interpretations of fee collections and resolve the inequities in the administration of the submerged land lease program. This type of exploitation is government out of control and that’s why we are starting early this year.

We are off to a great start! Representative Jim Frishe has already filed our legislation for the 2012 Session (which starts in January and ends in March) and we just received our bill number, HB 13, as of June 2, 2011 which can be viewed by clicking here to read a copy of HB 13.

Armed with the great successes he had in getting our legislation through all the necessary House committees during the 2011 Session, Representative Frishe is now working closely with Senator Jack Latvala who will be our new sponsor on the Senate side. We appreciate all of the hard work and efforts that Senator Fasano and his staff put forth over the past few years and he will continue to co-sponsor our 2012 legislation along with Senator Jones and many other Senators. We anticipate having a Senate Bill number in the very near future.

In addition to all of our efforts to date, we will be hosting a “Town Hall Meeting” this fall in Pinellas County. Both Representative Frishe and Senator Latvala will be present to discuss the issues, review our strategy, and encourage more support and active participation. We would like to encourage as many owners/associations as possible to attend. The date and place have yet to be determined but I would encourage your feedback (priority38@aol.com) as to what might work for you (weekend? evening?).

What do we need for YOU to do? Please continue to contact your local legislators, asking for their support of HB 13. As soon as we have the Senate Bill number we will let you know. We need to keep the heat on as many legislators as possible. Since we are getting such an early start for the 2012 Session we anticipate even better success especially with the aggressive work planned by Representative Frishe and Senator Latvala.


May 16, 2011

After a tumultuous past few months, the 2011 Session finally ended on May 6th. Our submerged land lease legislation made it through every committee except the Budget Committee where it finally died. It was through your great support that we were able to get it this far.

Representative Frishe aggressively pushed HB173 and got it through the Florida House of Representatives with unanimous success. It went through Agriculture and Natural Resources Subcommittee, Finance & Tax Committee, and the State Affairs Committee with flying colors!

SB332 got off to a slow start on the Senate side and was then put on the agenda of 4 committees: Senate Environmental Preservation & Conservation, Community Affairs, Judiciary Committee, and finally the Budget Committee. It passed through the first 3 committees with unanimous success but ended up in the Budget Committee on the last day when session ended. We were not successful getting it on the Special Order Calendar.

The fact that we were very successful in getting our legislation through all the House committees and 3 of the 4 Senate committees puts us in a very good position for the 2012 Session.

With no election this coming November, the legislature remains largely the same. With committee meetings starting in July/August, we will be getting a very early start and hopefully moving our legislation through all the necessary committees. We will be working with the same legislation as before, however, there will be new bill numbers assigned since it is a new session.

The next Session officially starts in January 2012. The legislators who will be voting on our bills are very familiar with our issue and should hopefully pass our legislation with the same unanimous success as it did during the 2011 session.

There is also a stronger interest in our legislation on the Senate side with several Senators wanting to sponsor our legislation. We are currently discussing our options so that we can have the best chance of success. This past session really got the attention of a lot of policy makers who are finally grasping the unfairness of our issue. Again, for all the committees it passed through it was almost unanimously in our favor. This past session brought the most awareness to our issue, by far, that we have ever seen since we started addressing it in July 2008.

What is our strategy? Representative Frishe will again be sponsoring it on the House side and hopefully pushing our new legislation through the various committees with the same unanimous success as during the 2011 Session. We will have the Senator sponsoring our legislation finalized within the next month. New bill numbers will be assigned and we’ll start working our way through the committees. Since our issue is now very familiar to our legislators, it will not be regarded as “new legislation” that would require a lot of in depth analysis and understanding.

What do we need for YOU to do? As in the past, please contact your local legislators via phone, fax, email, letters to again reiterate the importance of this issue. Continue to spread the word & alert other associations and homeowners that we need their involvement and support. Try to engage as many new people as possible, as our strength lies in numbers!

Our coalition was AGAIN successful in keeping the submerged land lease fees from increasing. We have been fighting potential increases of up to 425% since 2008.


April 22, 2011

We are in the final moments of the Fourth Quarter of the 2011 Session. This is most likely our last chance to affect the progress of our legislation this year.

Please contact Senate President Mike Haridopolos and respectfully ask that he work with Senator Fasano to amend the multi-family submerged land lease language of CS/SB 332 onto a viable vehicle, such as CS/CS/CS/SB 530, in either the Budget Committee or the Floor. 

To this end, an automated message has been set up on our take action page to get the word to the appropriate legislators to keep our effort moving forward. Everything is set up for your convenience. Thank you all so much for your continuing support!


April 5, 2011

Yesterday, our HB173 passed through the House Finance and Tax committee by a vote of 24-0, thanks to YOUR CONTINUED OUTSTANDING SUPPORT. Next up, we need to email Chair Seth McKeel to agenda our legislation for the State Affairs Committee, which is the last House Committee. Once HB173 is on the agenda, we will send out a new update with guidance on emailing that entire committee.

Time is critical and we need your continued great support to keep our legislation moving through the various committees.

Please go to our e-mail page and send the automated message. This message will go to Chair Seth McKeel, which is most important right now. It will also be sent to Senate President Mike Haridopolos, Speaker of the House Dean Cannon as well as your legislators. Everything is set up for your convenience. Thank you all so much for your continuing support!

Please consider sending a separate note to Representative Jim Frishe (jim.frishe@myfloridahouse.gov) thanking him for all of his hard work on our behalf and successfully moving our legislation along to this point.


April 3, 2011

A new week, another email update. I know some of you feel that “you sent your email” and therefore are done.

Nothing could be further from the truth, and I hope you can find the time to continually support our email campaigns to Tallahassee. In this last month of the legislature, things change rapidly on a daily basis. As our bills progress from one committee to another, it is essential that each subsequent committee hearing our bill, hear from you first, with your support for the bill. For the month of April we will be asking you to email at least once a week, and perhaps twice, as our bills progress.

Last week, HB173 passed the House Agriculture & Natural Resources Subcommittee by a vote of 13 to 0, due in large part to your support. This week, the House Finance and Tax Committee will be hearing HB173 on Tuesday April 5, 2011. As our legislation continues to move through the various committees it is VERY IMPORTANT that we email these committee members to support our legislation.

Please send your emails. This message will go to the House Finance and Tax Committee, which is most important right now. It will also be sent to Senate President Mike Haridopolos, Speaker of the House Dean Cannon as well as your legislators. Everything is set up for your convenience. Thank you all so much for your continuing support!


April 1, 2011

Thanks to the extensive efforts of Representative Frishe, our bill (HB173) is now moving in the House. Now we need to continue pushing on the Senate side for the companion bill (SB332). It is extremely important to continue sending emails to Senate President Haridopolos as well as your legislators to let them know how important it is that SB332 be heard. This is vital at this point in time!

Please go to the email page on this website and send the automated message. This message will go to Senate President Mike Haridopolos, Speaker of the House Dean Cannon as well as your legislators. Everything is set up for your convenience. Thank you all so much for your continuing support!


March 30, 2011

Below is a message that I just received from Representative Frishe:

Submerged Land Leases
House Bill 173
Senate Bill 332

Since Session of last year a dedicated group of people have been working with me in an attempt to change the Florida law regarding multi-family complexes and the inequity of charging these families for a boat dock over Florida-owned submerged lands. Single family residents in Florida are treated differently than multi-family residents.

After many hours of meetings and negotiations, I believe we have reached a consensus on a solution to the biggest problems. It does not contain everything each side wants, however, it is a huge step in the right direction. We must keep in mind that this is a process with many different stakeholders. However, our efforts have certainly shifted the momentum from where it was just a couple of years ago when vast lease fee increases were being pursued.

Keep “encouraging” the House and Senate leadership to support HB 173 as amended and SB 332 and let’s try to get this done in the brief time we have left for this Session.

THANK YOU for all you have done to spread the word and please continue to support this effort.

Representative Jim Frishe
District 54


March 26, 2011

Representative Frishe has been working very hard with the DEP on revisions to our legislation that meets with the administration’s approval. The original language for HB173 and SB332 has been substantially revised due to the political climate in Tallahassee and the reality of the fiscal impact of our legislation.

These bills in their original format were essentially stopped and were not being moved forward despite the thousands of emails sent to our legislators.

The revised language can be viewed here: REVISED HB173. This bill is being heard on Monday (March 28, 2011) at 3 PM by the House Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee. The importance of this legislation is that we have a vehicle that has been approved by the DEP and other committees that gets us a starting point.

The complexity of the submerged land lease program developed over many years and cannot be fixed overnight. It is all about compromises. This is the first time a statute will be in place that is specific to private multi-family residences and we will continue to work on language changes. This is a process and has to be addressed in incremental steps.

Please go to the email page on this website and send the automated message. Everything is set up for your convenience. It’s only a couple of mouse clicks. Thank you all so much for your continuing support!
We want HB173 to pass and as it continues to work its way through the committees we will continue to revise the language.


March 09, 2011

As lawmakers begin the 2011 legislative session in Tallahassee, our crucial submerged land lease legislation is on the table and it is imperative that we KEEP SENDING A MESSAGE to our legislators in Tallahassee.

Our coalition continues to work from several angles but the key to our success is for YOU TO KEEP THE EMAILS AND LETTERS GOING. Encourage your friends, neighbors and other associations to do the same. We have to keep emphasizing how inequitable our situation is and only through the support of HB173 and SB332 will we be able to create a fair and equitable solution.


February 17, 2011

Thank you for all the messages that are being sent to Tallahassee. I have been copied on many of them and your voices are loud and clear. Please continue to send messages to Senate President Mike Haridopolos per our February 12, 2011 update. We must keep the pressure on.

At this time, we would like you to send another message to Representative Jim Frishe asking him to continue pushing HB 173 to be heard as a committee bill. We respectfully request that he work with Representative Steve Crisafulli to agenda HB 173.

Please use THIS website (www.fhft.org) and send the message for Representative Jim Frishe.


February 12, 2011

As the 2011 Legislative Session gets closer we need to focus our efforts even more. Some of the committee meetings have been cancelled and will be rescheduled in March. At this time we need for YOU to email President Mike Haridopolos. We do not want you to use the automated FHFT website.

For this message we would like you to write in your own words a few simple sentences describing the problem. The emphasis needs to be: please fix the glitch in the submerged land lease program as it affects multi-family residences. Multi-family residences are private residences and need to be treated as such. They are currently regulated as commercial entities and are being taxed like a business, even though there is no income generated. They need to be taken out of the commercial environment and treated as private residential as they are tired of being taxed like a commercial business. Multi-family residences cannot raise any revenue to compensate for this economically unfeasible situation.

SB 332 and HB 173 specifically defines “private residential”, separating private residential, both multi-family and single family, from commercial entities and creates a fair and equitable solution.

As stated above, please send this message to President Haridopolos (haridopolos.mike.web@flsenate.gov) and send a copy to:

dean.charles.web@flsenate.gov
steve.crisafulli@myfloridahouse.gov
fasano.mike.web@flsenate.gov
jim.frishe@myfloridahouse.gov

The emphasis needs to be on the fact that there is a big glitch in the submerged land lease program. The current situation is very unfair and we need for our legislators to agree on this fact. Multi-family residents are being taxed and regulated like a business and not treated as private residential.

Please take a few moments to send your own message. Keep it short, simple, and respectful and please copy Senator Charles Dean, Representative Steve Crisafulli, Senator Mike Fasano, and Representative Jim Frishe. The email addresses are all listed above.

Working through a complex issue like this entails approaching the problem from several angles. This email is very important as we need to stress the importance of “fixing this problem”.

For those who donated to our coalition a very big THANK YOU!! Your support is greatly appreciated! Please spread the word and encourage your friends and neighbors to support our efforts.


February 08, 2011

As the 2011 Legislative Session gets closer, it is important to KEEP THE PRESSURE ON. Committee meetings, both in Senate and the House, are underway and we are targeting the week of February 21st for our legislation to be heard.

Please go to our e-mail page and send the message to please agenda SB 332 and HB 173. The message is preset so it will only take a few moments of your time. If you have already sent a message in the past few weeks, please send it again!! This message will go to both Senator Charles Dean, Chairman of the Senate Environmental Preservation and Conservation Committee and Representative Steve Crisafulli, Chairman of the House Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee.

These legislators need to hear from YOU. Please send the message now and encourage your friends and neighbors to do the same. Your support is greatly appreciated!


February 04, 2011

IN THE NEWS!

Headline in the Island Reporter reads "FL House, Senate to Consider Legislation". Read this article about our issue here.


January 27, 2011

We need your immediate assistance!

As of January 25, 2011 our House Bill (HB173) is now in the Agriculture and Natural Resources Subcommittee. In a very positive change for our cause, the House has just reassigned Representative Steve Crisafulli as the new Chair of this important committee. NOW is the time for you to go to our website and email Representative Crisafulli, respectfully requesting that he “agenda HB 173.” The link above will direct you to a preset message that can be changed if you wish.

Our Senate Bill (SB332) will be on the agenda of the Environmental Preservation and Conservation Committee next month. Once the date is set, I will be going to Tallahassee for the meeting.

Your continuing support and donations are greatly appreciated. Please continue to spread the word.

Backgrounder

We have been waging our campaign for fairness in submerged land lease regulations for over three years now. It has come to my attention, that while this issue is crystal clear for those of us directly involved, it may have become somewhat fuzzy for those of you who are reading these updates, or for those of you who recently moved here and are unaware of the consequences.

For those of you new to the submerged land lease issue, private multi-family residences are treated differently than single-family residences when it comes to paying for the dock in front of your property. Multi-family residences are lumped in with commercial properties and are currently subjected to the same fees and regulations as commercial properties. The reason we continually solicit your support is that if this legislation is approved, submerged land lease fees will essentially go to zero as of July 1, 2011. That would be a significant impact on any association budget.

As many of you already know, we now have a companion House Bill, HB-173 (summary and bill are here), that was filed by Representative Jim Frishe of Pinellas County on January 12, 2011. We are very pleased with his support and excited about the 2011 Legislative Session. We will continue to press House leadership on the issue and would be thrilled with a committee bill as well.

We also heard from Senator Charles Dean, Chairman of the Environmental Preservation and Conservation Committee, who will agenda SB-332. Senator Dean will make sure SB-332 gets a fair hearing in one of his next few committee meetings.

Our members have written a presentation that includes a good summary of the issues and you can read it here along with the text of HB0173:

Click here to read a summary and the text of HB0173

The text of the Senate and House Bills are posted on the official state website now. They were listed as identical at the time of this update.

Click here to read SB332 on the Florida website

Click here to read HB0173 on the Florida website

Our handout has now been updated with this information and is available by clicking on this document, for anyone to view and download as needed. Once we get the House Bill number we will update that as well.

With the 2011 Legislative Session just around the corner, things will start progressing rapidly. As updates are forthcoming  your support will be vital. Please continue to spread the word and encourage your friends and neighbors to do the same.  


January 27, 2011

We need your immediate assistance!

As of January 25, 2011 our House Bill (HB173) is now in the Agriculture and Natural Resources Subcommittee. The House has just made some late Committee Chair changes and the new Chair is Representative Steve Crisafulli. This is a good adjustment for us as he is from Merritt Island which has a lot of condominiums. NOW is the time for you to go to our website and email committee Chair Steve Crisafulli, respectfully requesting that he “agenda HB 173.” The link above will direct you to a preset message that can be changed if you wish.

Our Senate Bill (SB332) will be on the agenda of the Environmental Preservation and Conservation Committee next month. Once the date is set, I will be going to Tallahassee for the meeting.

Your continuing support and donations are greatly appreciated. Please continue to spread the word.


January 17, 2011

We have been waging our campaign for fairness in submerged land lease regulations for over three years now. It has come to my attention, that while this issue is crystal clear for those of us directly involved, it may have become somewhat fuzzy for those of you who are reading these updates, or for those of you who recently moved here and are unaware of the consequences.

For those of you new to the submerged land lease issue, private multi-family residences are treated differently than single-family residences when it comes to paying for the dock in front of your property. Multi-family residences are lumped in with commercial properties and are currently subjected to the same fees and regulations as commercial properties. The reason we continually solicit your support is that if this legislation is approved, submerged land lease fees will essentially go to zero as of July 1, 2011. That would be a significant impact on any association budget.

As many of you already know, we now have a companion House Bill, HB-173 (summary and bill are here), that was filed by Representative Jim Frishe of Pinellas County on January 12, 2011. We are very pleased with his support and excited about the 2011 Legislative Session. We will continue to press House leadership on the issue and would be thrilled with a committee bill as well.

We also heard from Senator Charles Dean, Chairman of the Environmental Preservation and Conservation Committee, who will agenda SB-332. Senator Dean will make sure SB-332 gets a fair hearing in one of his next few committee meetings. When it is put on the agenda we will alert you. At that time you will need to contact each committee member and respectfully ask for their favorable consideration. Our website will be set up at that time so the message can be automatically sent.

I want to thank you again for your donations and your support as we continue to make great progress. It is still vitally important that you continue to contact your own legislators about this issue and keep it in the forefront, especially now that we have both a Senate bill and a companion House bill.


January 16, 2011

Our members have written a presentation that includes a good summary of the issues and you can read it here along with the text of HB0173:

Click here to read a summary and the text of HB0173


January 14, 2011

The text of the Senate and House Bills are posted on the official state website now. They were listed as identical at the time of this update.

Click here to read SB332 on the Florida website

Click here to read HB0173 on the Florida website

Please read the update below to see how to support this effort by e-mailing the appropriate government officials.


January 12, 2011

On January 7, 2011 I gave a presentation to the Pinellas County Legislative Delegation summarizing our issues and asking for their support. The presentation was well received and we now have the strong support of the Pinellas County legislators. A presentation handout was given to all the attendees detailing our issues along with color photos and a copy of our proposed legislation, SB-332. We respectfully requested the delegation members to seek the support of their colleagues statewide.

Our proposed legislation is now officially Senate Bill 332 (SB-332) and has begun the legislative process in Tallahassee. Our handout has now been updated with this information and is available by clicking on this document, for anyone to view and download as needed. Once we get the House Bill number we will update that as well.

What do we need for you to do NOW? At this time we would like to ask that you take a few moments and use your own e-mail system to send three messages.  We will need you to use YOUR OWN email to send a message, rather than this website’s e-mailer.

You should be able to copy and paste the text of these messages into your own e-mail system.   Please remember to include your name and address with the message, as the aides want that information for their records.

1.    trudi.williams@myfloridahouse.gov  (Subject: Proposed Committee Bill as companion to SB332)

Dear Representative Williams:

We respectfully request that as Chair of the House Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee please do a PCB (Proposed Committee Bill) as a companion to SB 332. Our legislation addresses the inequities of the submerged land lease program and creates a fair and equitable solution for multi-family residences as compared to single family residences. SB332 puts all private residences, whether single or multi-family, on the same level playing field, thus allowing the same exemptions.

2.    jim.frishe@myfloridahouse.gov  (Subject: House Companion Bill needed for SB 332)

Dear Representative Frishe:

We respectfully request for you to file a House Companion Bill       
to SB 332 that addresses the inequities of the submerged land    
lease program and creates a fair and equitable solution for
multi-family residences as compared to single family  
residences.

3.    dean.charles.web@flsenate.gov (Subject: Agenda SB 332)

Dear Senator Dean:

We respectfully request that as Chairman of the Senate Environmental
Preservation and Conservation Committee, please agenda SB 332 at
your earliest convenience. SB 332 addresses the inequities of the submerged
land lease program and creates a fair and equitable solution for multi-family
residences as compared to single family residences. 

With the 2011 Legislative Session just around the corner, things will start progressing rapidly. As updates are forthcoming  your support will be vital. Please continue to spread the word and encourage your friends and neighbors to do the same.  

For those who have contributed to our coalition….a big THANK YOU! With your support we are able to continue moving forward on our issues. We are still in need of funds to help us through the 2011 Session.


December 30, 2010

As the end of 2010 nears we have some new updates. We recently met with Senator Fasano and after discussing our legislation we now have our revised bill from bill drafting (The bill can be viewed by clicking here.) Our lobbyist, Travis Moore, also met with Representative Jim Frishe, the new Majority Whip in the House, who has agreed to help us with our bill in the House. This new position gives Representative Frishe a key role in leadership in the House. We would like for him to assist with Chair Trudi Williams and the Speaker’s Office to get the House to move on it as a Committee Bill. If not, we would like for him to sponsor it as a Member General Bill. Please contact him at jim.frishe@myfloridahouse.gov and respectfully request him to do so.

On January 7, 2011 I will be giving a presentation at the Pinellas County Legislative Delegation meeting. Travis Moore has recently met with many of the newly elected Senators and Representatives and continues to gain support regarding the submerged land lease issues.

As per our last update it is important to contact your local legislators, especially if they are newly elected, and let them know about this issue. Only through your emails, phone calls, and letters will they realize this is an important issue that needs their support. Please go to our website (http://www.fhft.org/) and send the message. You can use the prewritten message or type in your own. Please forward to your friends and neighbors and enlist their help. If we don't continue to bring awareness to this issue it will not get the attention it deserves!!


November 22, 2010

After a very exciting midterm election, we are ready to continue working towards our goal of a fair and equitable solution to the submerged land lease program. With many new conservatives elected it is now vitally important to send them our “message”, again bringing awareness to the gross inequities we have been facing. We also need to keep our issue in the forefront for those we have contacted in the past and reemphasize our message.

With the 2011 Legislative Session on the horizon, we are again pushing for our legislation to be a committee bill. However, to cover all bases, we are working with several Representatives in case it needs to be introduced as a member bill. Senator Fasano continues to work with us and will be promoting our bill on the Senate side. A meeting has been scheduled with Senator Fasano on November 29, 2010 to review our legislation and plan our strategy.

You may recall the poorly written Senate Bill 1012 from the 2009 Session which, thanks to thousands of emails from you, died in committee. For the 2011 Session we will introduce a much revised version of the old SB1012. We have developed language that addresses our issues, incorporates our language from last year, and keeps it “revenue neutral”. Last year, due to the fiscal impact of our legislation, it was extremely difficult to get the House to move forward on it.

What do we need you to do? Go to our website and “email your legislators”. There is a short message ready to go that will let your legislators know about this issue. You can either send this message, type in your own message, or better yet mail a letter. I cannot emphasize this enough. We need to SEND THE MESSAGE so that your legislators will know there is a problem. They need to hear from you! Enlist the help of your friends and neighbors to do the same. The more messages they receive from concerned homeowners the better chance we have of fixing the problem.

Letters have been sent to Governor Elect Rick Scott, Senate President Elect Mike Haridopolos, House Speaker Elect Dean Cannon that outlines our talking points and includes the new language of our legislation. We are very supportive of their vision of smaller, limited government and conservative leadership.

For those who have contributed to our coalition….a big THANK YOU! With your support we are able to continue moving forward on our issues. We are still in need of funds to help us through the 2011 Session. Please send your donation to:


October 10, 2010

In the next few weeks the midterm elections will be here. This is an extremely active and volatile election. It is very important for you to focus on the candidates in your district and get answers to the many important issues we are facing. Of course, when speaking on behalf of FHFT, the inequities of the submerged land lease program for multi-residential facilities, MUST be your key message. Call/write or email your candidates. Go to meetings and express your concerns. Get answers to your questions!

We continue to educate the candidates and bring our issue to the forefront. We are working closely with Senator Fasano’s office and have presented the Senate with revised language addressing the submerged land lease program inadequacies. His office has also been working closely with the Senate President’s office staff to have our issue ready to launch right after the election. As a Senate priority, they will be able to assist us in having the House prioritize it as well.

Thanks to your continued participation, we are making progress on our goal of trying to put legislation in place to protect us from the efforts of the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) to drastically increase submerged land lease fees over the past few years.

Our recent conference call on August 5, 2010 with the Office of Program Policy Analysis and Government Accountability (OPPAGA) was a good open dialogue. Agreement was reached on two key points:

(1)   The lease fee structure and language in the Florida Statutes and Florida Administrative Code is very complex and confusing and needs to be streamlined.
(2)   Private multi-family residences should be treated as residential and not lumped in with commercial entities.

In addition to these points we have agreed to review SB1012 from the 2009 Legislative Session and submit our comments and changes to create a bill that Florida Homeowners for Fair Treatment could support. The OPPAGA staff has agreed in turn to analyze our draft language from the 2010 Session and offer their comments as well. As we continue to work with the OPPAGA staff on this study we are also directing our efforts in other directions in preparation of the 2011 Legislative Session. We will be having a meeting on August 27, 2010 with our lobbyist to plan our strategy moving forward.

We have contacted all 3 gubernatorial candidates for their position on our issue. To date only Rick Scott’s office responded: “ As I indicated during our call, I have not had the opportunity to speak with Rick about this specific subject, however I can tell you that rules such as the one we discussed are the types of regulations that Rick believes need to be reviewed in order to determine if they serve a valid public purpose, if they are fair and if they should be eliminated.  As Governor, Rick will not support any increase in the fees you are currently paying and I am sure he will be willing to have the DEP regulation in question reviewed.” 

Remember that the DEP attempted to get legislation passed during the last three years!!

350% increase in 2008
425% increase in 2009
And the SAME 425% increase in 2010

In 2010 the bill was not introduced due to the proactive and offensive actions of our coalition. We have again prevented ANOTHER huge increase and saved everyone thousands of dollars this year.

This proves that we need to continue our goal of trying to get legislation in place to protect us from these runaway fees and increases.

What can you do to support our efforts moving forward? 

1.     Donations are needed for expenses incurred which include our lobbyist, website maintenance, communication efforts, etc.
2.     Contact your local legislators and let them know what you think. Write them a letter, not just an email, as well as calling them.
3.     Go to town hall meetings and voice your opinion on our issues.
4.     Continue to spread the word about our efforts.


August 4, 2010

As the summer progresses we continue to work with the legislature and policy makers to change the Rules in the Florida Administrative Code. If we can get a resolution to our issues and change the DEP’s rules and procedures via this format we can eventually enact legislation. We are continuing to try and resolve this problem by creating pressure from the legislature.

As you know the legislature is working on the OPPAGA (Office of Program Policy Analysis and Government Accountability) study request that was passed during the 2010 Legislative Session and having them expand on the OPPAGA study that was done in October 2008 (published in the Senate Interim report). Our request is to study in more detail the specific issues of how submerged land leases are administered to private multi-family residences. If the rules and procedures aren’t changed by session via legislative pressure, then the legislature will need to change the law during session to assure DEP compliance. We have a conference call set up for August 5, 2010 with the head of the Environmental Committee, the President’s (Senate) office, Senator Fasano’s office, our lobbyist, Travis Moore, and myself. We will have an update on this conference call shortly.

We have also sent out letters to all 3 candidates for governor requesting their position on our issue. Emphasis was placed on the fact that thousands of waterfront property owners are concerned about the unfair and runaway costs imposed by the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP). As we hear back from these candidates, updates will be forthcoming.

We are also meeting with legislative candidates and continue to bring awareness to our issue. As candidates are meeting with you in your neighborhood invite them to discuss policy issues. Set up town hall meetings if possible and raise your concerns. I cannot emphasize this enough!

Again, we are working on several fronts to promote our cause and we urge you, as homeowners, to do the same. We will have more information for you shortly and, as always, please continue to spread the word. This is of vital importance.


May 21, 2010

Due to your participation and involvement, Florida Homeowners for Fair Treatment (FHFT) picked up significant momentum during the recently concluded 2010 Legislative Session. With your help, FHFT had a full time presence in the halls of the Capitol every moment of the Session. In an effort to address significant budget shortfalls, an effort was once again mounted to raise revenue by attempting to significantly increase (up to 425%) the state’s submerged land lease fees. Because of our advanced advocacy efforts we were able to derail this attempt before it became introduced as legislation or in the annual Appropriations Act. We diligently monitored and reviewed scores of amendments as the legislative process unfolded to make certain no attempt at raising fees gained any traction until the already unfairly administered lease process has been reformed.

To that end we were successful in getting the Legislature to finally agree that the current submerged land lease process is inherently unfair to multifamily residential communities. However, there was no agreement on how to plug what would be a more than $3 million annual shortfall without significantly reducing DEP related services the revenue is allocated to cover. But “we can’t” isn’t good enough for the FHFT. So we used our political capital to force language into a Senate bill which would direct the Office of Program, Policy Analysis and Government Accountability (OPPAGA) to do a study on the current situation, with direct input from FHFT, and make legislative recommendations on how to adequately reform the process. This language provided FHFT with just the leverage we needed to immediately bring all the stakeholders to the table. Because there were concerns that the bill might not pass due to unrelated circumstances, (as you know, the legislative process is extremely unpredictable), we immediately moved to rally consensus around a legislative request by Senator Fasano for the study to be conducted. Attached is the request he made on our behalf with appropriate sign off by other interested industries who are now supporting this effort. (CLICK HERE TO SEE THE REQUEST). As you will notice, the request lists FHFT’s “talking points” describing how unfair the current submerged land lease fee structure is. This report must be completed by October 1, 2010, in time for the next round of interim Legislative Committee meetings. We have already provided Senator Fasano and Representative Patronis (who was also instrumental in getting this OPPAGA request submitted) with our website info and contact information regarding Florida Homeowners for Fair Treatment (www.fhft.org).

Our momentum and progress to date represents significant developments on several fronts. Again, FHFT has gained the support of the commercial marine industry and are working hand in hand with many other associations in support of our cause. We have built a lot of momentum during the 2010 Legislative Session and will continue to use this as the OPPAGA study request is completed and we move into the 2011 Legislative Session.

In our continuing efforts to rectify this situation and bring more awareness to our cause we are working on a “bulletin board” on our website (www.fhft.org) where individuals/associations can post some of their experiences with submerged land lease /DEP issues, etc. This website is being provided to the legislative group conducting the OPPAGA study and any updates/past or current experiences relating to submerged land lease issues would be of great interest.

In addition to everyone’s great support and response to our emails and updates during the 2009 and 2010 Legislative Sessions it is of vital importance to CALL &/OR WRITE (not just email) your local Senators and Representatives. With the 2010 elections coming up this fall it is important to let your legislators know what is going on and how we need this unfair situation addressed. WE NEED TO KEEP THE PRESSURE ON AND THIS ISSUE IN THE FOREFRONT!!

Another initiative we are developing, with your assistance, is to schedule informal local “town hall” meetings to discuss this issue and solicit more input from various groups and associations. We would appreciate any inquiries/interest regarding this idea. May we come to your community? Please let us know right away so we can schedule and advertise these events.

Please continue to monitor this website (www.fhft.org) and add your input to the new “bulletin board” which should be ready in the next 2 weeks. Your continued support is greatly appreciated and we need to keep building on the momentum we have and keeping the pressure on. As the OPPAGA study moves forward we will continue with our updates. Give yourself a moment to say thanks! For the 2010 Session, when the Legislature was once again looking for revenue from a variety of sources, YOU were able to keep another huge increase (425%!!) from being passed.


April 21, 2010

It has been a very hectic legislative session with all of the issues we have been dealing with compounded by Florida’s budget shortfalls. Per our last update we were working on an amendment to be added to SB1118 (Senator Altman’s bill) that would direct the Office of Program Policy Analysis and Government Accountability (OPPAGA) to conduct a study on our specific issues. Senator Fasano was able to get this amendment added to SB1118 however when it went to the House some new concerns were raised because of the generalizations of the Florida Statutes to which we were referring.

We have worked with the Legislature to create a request and develop new language that is more specific to our unique situation. In doing do we have gained the support of the yachting and marine industry along with the aquaculture industry. The request needed to specify that it would not encompass commercial marinas, aquaculture or oil and mineral leases.

Senator Fasano is directing this letter to the Senate President and House Speaker requesting OPPAGA to conduct this study. Because this request is being made now and with the support we have behind it, it is not necessary for an amendment. Within a few days the request will be finalized by Senator Fasano’s office and put in motion.

The next update will have the request for the OPPAGA study along with any other current information. As always, your continued support is greatly appreciated.


April 6, 2010

SB1118 by Senator Altman relating to docks is scheduled to be heard by the Senate on Tuesday April 6th. We have worked with Senator Fasano to develop the following language to be amended onto this bill:

Section 4.The Office of Program Policy Analysis and Government Accountability shall conduct a study and prepare a report on the effects of rules relating to the state’s sovereign submerged lands on private, multifamily residential dwellings. In conducting the study, the office shall solicit input and information from relevant stakeholders, including such homeowner organizations as the Florida Homeowners for Fair Treatment, Inc., and the Space Coast Condominiums Association. The scope of the study must include, but is not limited to, the practical implementation effects of rules adopted pursuant to ss. 253.67-253.75 and part II of chapter 258, Florida Statutes, on multifamily residential dwellings, the current sales tax being levied on the sale of boat slips associated with such dwellings, the basis of the 5-year renewal fee, and the annual income-reporting requirements for nonincome-generating private, residential multifamily docks or piers. The report must be submitted to the Board of Trustees of the Internal Improvement Trust Fund, the President of the Senate, and the Speaker of the House of Representatives by October 1, 2010.

We have been successful so far in keeping any increases from being advanced, as was the case in 2009. It is important that the legislators be made aware of the current unfair submerged land lease fee structure as it affects private multi-family residences.

It is imperative that you contact your Senator IMMEDIATELY and respectfully ask for their support of Senator Fasano’s amendment to SB1118 so that these issues can be remedied. In the coming days we will be pursuing similar language in the House.

Again, TIME IS OF THE ESSENCE!!


March 2, 2010

Today is the first day of the annual 2010 Legislative Session.  Please take the time immediately to email your local legislators (House Member and Senator) a note similar to the one below:

 Respectfully, as you begin your work this Session, please keep in mind those of us in your District who reside in multi-family communities and who are treated by the DEP as commercial entities (such as marinas) and therefore pay a much higher submerged land lease fee than single family homes (many of whom don’t pay any lease fee).  Please make certain the proper legislative committees of jurisdiction are working to craft a fair and equitable solution.


Feb. 23, 2010

We are still finalizing the proposed House Bill regarding our submerged land lease legislation. However, it is NOW time to start sending the message to selected Representatives and other staff members involved in this issue. The draft message is on the “Email Your Legislator” page and the message will go to: Speaker Larry Cretul,  Representative Trudi Williams, Representative Ellyn Bogdanoff, Representative Baxter Troutman, Susan Reese, Adam Blalock, Michael Kliner, Dudley Goodlette, Aaron Nevins, Amanda Fortuna, and Gino Casanova.

As always, we appreciate your support. Please continue to spread the word and encourage others to send the message!


February 11, 2010

The 2010 Legislative Session is just around the corner! Committee meetings have begun and we are continuing to work closely with Representative Trudi Williams and her staff as well as the attorneys for The Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee.

The language for the House Bill is currently being reviewed by the attorneys for The Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee. A draft of the proposed House Bill is now available for review by clicking here (link removed to avoid confusion with the new bill). The language in this bill proposes changes to the statutes and, as yet, has no specific House Bill for it. We are working through the committee meetings to have these statute changes become a Proposed Committee Bill (PCB). In the event that this does not occur Representative Bogdanoff has already reserved a bill slot for our statute changes and then it will become a Member Bill.

Once the bill is finalized and either becomes a PCB or a Member Bill we will then amend the language to Senate Bill 584 (filed by Senator Fasano) so that both the Senate and the House Bills match.

As we gear up for the 2010 Legislative Session it will be extremely important to continue to spread the word and be ready to "send the message" when we get to that point. Your continued support is greatly appreciated.


January 19, 2010

I hope everyone had a great holiday season! The upcoming 2010 Session is about to start and we are ready to go!!

Our team kept working hard in preparation for the 2010 Legislative Session. Our lobbyist, Travis Moore, met again in Tallahassee with House Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee Chair Trudi Williams. This time the meeting included her committee staff director and the attorneys for the committee. They agreed to place the issue of submerged land leases, as they pertain to residential facilities, on the Committee’s agenda for a February workshop in Tallahassee. The goal will be having the committee agree to "fix"/address the issue via a PCB (proposed committee bill) during the session. This is a very "chair" driven process so given Trudi Williams' support, this is a very positive development.

Travis has also spoken again with the Becker & Poliakoff attorney who is assisting with bill drafting and has introduced him to the staff attorneys with the House and Natural Resources Committee.

Since the deadline for House members (not Committees) to request a bill draft from House Bill Drafting is Jan. 22, to keep the "Member bill" as an option, Travis had Rep. Bogdanoff of Ft. Lauderdale submit a bill draft request just using the Mike Fasano senate bill language as a placeholder. That has all been completed.

We are starting the new legislative year off in good shape. As always, we appreciate your support and look forward to a very successful upcoming session. Over the next few months things will get a lot more hectic and updates will be more frequent. Stay tuned!!


December 18, 2009

As we are getting to the end of 2009 we continue to make significant headway.

Last week Travis Moore, our lobbyist, was back up in Tallahassee working the capitol on behalf of our issue. He had a very productive meeting with Representative Trudi Williams who chairs the Florida House of Representative’s Committee on Agriculture and Natural Resources (our issue falls under this committee’s jurisdiction). Chair Williams (who is from Ft. Myers) and her staff were very interested (having received our emails on the subject they knew it to be a big concern for many Floridians) and seemed to be willing to have the Committee look into the issue by having a workshop hearing in the coming weeks. This hearing will present the opportunity of creating a solution to our issue by doing a Proposed Committee Bill (PCB). They asked for additional talking points and information to analyze the issue further. We have provided this and will be following up with them in the next few weeks.

We are also working with other community association attorneys and getting them connected with House Committee legal staff to get a workable, sensible solution crafted. We will get language out to you as soon as we have something.

Thank you for your continued efforts and support. Stay engaged and have a very Happy Holiday season.


November 4, 2009

Due to your hard work, we now have some significant progress to report to you. Do not send additional messages to our legislators yet; the time will come for that later. This is just some additional information that will help to keep you informed on this very important issue.   A draft of Florida Senate 2010 bill 584 is now available for review by clicking here (removed to avoid confusion with current bill).   Significant additional work is continuing and we should anticipate changes prior to it being finalized.    We will continue to provide updates and let you know when the time comes to communicate your thoughts to the various committees and individuals involved in the process.


October 12, 2009

Last week (October 4, 2009) an update was sent urging you to email the latest message targeting the Environmental Preservation and Conservation Committee (Senate side) as well as Governor Crist and your local legislators. YOU DID GREAT!!

Now we need you to send a similar message to the Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee (House side). The message will go to all the Representatives on this Committee as well as their legislative assistants and the staff director. The e-mail page now has both of these committees listed, as well as Governor Crist and your local legislators.

If you have already sent the message to the Environmental Preservation and Conservation Committee, it is not necessary to send it again. It is more important to focus on the Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee. Both committees are now hearing the same message as committee deliberations have started. Our bill should be completed this week and ready for final approval.


October 6, 2009

As we move into October various legislative committee deliberations will be starting shortly. There is a new message (“Email Your Legislator”) that is addressed to the Environmental Preservation and Conservation Committee (Senate side). When you enter your information (and personalize your message), the Committee members, as well as their legislative assistants and the staff director will be getting your e-mail.  Your local legislators (that received the last message) will also be included in this update. It is important that we keep sending the message to all legislators at key times.

Our bill is currently being drafted with Senator Fasano’s office and should be ready within the next few weeks. On the House side committee meetings will also start soon and, as stated previously, Representative Bogdanoff will be working closely with key members on our legislation.

KEEP in TOUCH and WATCH for UPDATES! In the next one to two weeks our message will change slightly as we address the Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee (House side).

September 6, 2009

We have met with Representative Ellyn Bogdanoff of Ft. Lauderdale who is a very influential part of House Leadership as Chair of the House and Finance Tax Committee. This Committee is in charge of approving increases in taxes and fees which generate revenue for the state, including submerged land leases. As chair of this committee she is in a position of certainly stopping “negative” proposals such as what the FDEP attempted last session with SB1012. This is key.

Representative Bogdanoff has agreed to make sure the House takes a close look at the unfair way the FDEP currently charges submerged land lease fees to multi-family residences the same as commercial marinas, while single family residences typically pay nothing. She has committed to help secure key House sponsorship of legislation which will serve as leverage to pressure FDEP to modify their rules or face the real possibility of a change in the law. She will work with other House Chairmen to see about having the issue workshopped in committee which could lead to drafting into a House committee bill. Senator Fasano has agreed to again sponsor any companion measure in the Senate.

What does FHFT need for YOU to do at this time?

  • Make a donation to FHFT if possible
  • Email (call) your legislators via this website. The message that is there can be changed if you wish to do so and changes make the message more personal; otherwise it is automatic. It is IMPORTANT at this time for you to SEND THE MESSAGE. Pass this information along to all of your friends & neighbors & encourage them to pass it along. It is VITAL that our legislators become aware of this issue and hear it REPEATEDLY. (After you type in your zip code move the cursor outside the box & hit “enter”; your legislators will then show up).
  • Contact other condo associations in your area to make sure they are aware of this issue. Get with your property management company and have them get with other property managers. This is also key to help spread the word. Have them contact me so I can keep them informed.
  • Generate media attention if possible. Please contact me for any information needed.

We have generated a lot of support in the past few months from such organizations as:

CONA (Council of Neighborhood Associations)
 TVCA (Tierra Verde Community Association)
 CEOMC (Chief Executive Officers of Management Companies)
 CAN (Community Advocacy Network)
 CALL (Community Association Leadership Lobby)
 CAI (Community Association Institute)
 Becker & Poliakoff


May 4, 2009

WE HAVE WON ROUND 2!! Score another for the good guys. Last fall we successfully defeated the exorbitant increases the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP) was trying to pass via their administrative rule change entitled "fee simplification." And now, in this 2009 legislative session, we defeated them again when they tried to sneak even bigger increases through via the "shell bill" approach.

Shell bills are introduced to keep the public from discovering their real purpose. Late in the legislative session an apparently nondescript bill suddenly becomes filled with a number of amendments tailored to specific lobbyist, legislator, or bureaucrat specifications. This is exactly what happened with Senate Bill 1012 (SB1012). Since the FDEP couldn't get their increases via democratic and public forums they tried to sneak it through in this legislative sleight-of-hand. Of course there was no public discussion or notification to the people most affected by these increases. And it ALMOST worked....

Once again YOU, the public, rose to the task and let our legislators know, in no uncertain terms, that the harmful amendments in SB1012 needed to be removed. THANK YOU!!!!!!! It was only through your repetitive emails and phone calls that we were successful. As of this writing, SB1012 is a dead bill!

Although we have defeated of the FDEP's latest attempt to unfairly burden us with huge increases, you can bet this is NOT the end of it. They will be back: count on that. Our plan for the 2010 session is to work on legislation to exempt private residences (both single family and multi-family) from these unfair and discriminatory fees. If we don't get such legislation in place we will never be protected from the FDEP bureaucracy.

We will be contacting you later this summer/fall as we organize our approach. Once we have a Senator such as Mike Fasano aligned with a co-sponsor from the House it will be important that your voices be heard again. Since 2008 your comments have been critical in defeating the FDEP's attempt to raise our fees. You will be heard again, only this time it will be in support of a bill exempting us from these unfair and discriminatory fees. As we get closer, we will keep you posted.

Again, THANK YOU ALL for your hard work. YOU did a GREAT job!! Democracy works.

Terri Pentek
Coalition Leader
Florida Homeowners for Fair Treatment

www.fhft.org


September 23, 2008

Information Release in response to September 12th email from Yvonne Gsteiger, J.D., Senior Cabinet Advisor. on behalf of Florida's Chief Financial Officer Alex Sink

Subsequent to public notices entitled "Fee Simplification" the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP) in July of 2008 proposed changes to Chapter 18-21 of the Florida Administrative Code (FAC). Those changes would have drastically increased the fees paid by Florida homeowners for the use of State submerged lands for docks and boat slips.

The proposed fee increases were exorbitant, unfair, and discriminatory. FDEP's proposals triggered a virtual revolution of homeowners across the State. The attempt by FDEP to sneak this change in under the misnomer of "Fee Simplification" was particularly galling.

During the month of August alone the FDEP and our elected representatives received thousands of emails, letters, and phone calls objecting to the FDEP proposals. On September 5th FDEP decided to allow more time for public comment in additional workshops throughout the State, the times and places to be announced.

An in-depth study of the current FAC 18-21 and FDEP's proposed changes reveals a number of serious issues:

  1. Non-profit multi-family condominium association and single-family docks and boat slips are treated the same as revenue-generating commercial marina docks and boat slips with respect to submerged land leases. That is patently unfair.

  2. The proposed rates (e.g., up to 50 cents per square foot per year for properties in an aquatic preserve such as Boca Ciega Bay) were about 350% of the current rate of 14+ cents per square foot per year. That was an exorbitant increase.

  3. FDEP provides for a 10:1 ratio of exempt submerged land to water frontage; this effectively ELIMINATES the lease fee for most single-family docks and boat slips. Multi-family condominium association docks and boat slips, however, are NOT EXEMPT from the same submerged land leases and fees. That is discriminatory.

  4. Chapter 18-21.011 currently contains wording that does not allow more than a 10% increase in submerged land lease fees in any given year. FDEP's proposed changes equated to a 245% INCREASE. FDEP does not play by its own rules.

  5. FDEP levies a 6% fee on the value of any boat slip that is sold if that boat slip is subject to a submerged land lease. In some cases FDEP has expanded that fee to include 6% of condo maintenance fees! That is clear evidence that FDEP is acting as a taxing authority, something that may not be within its purview.

  6. The FDEP has admitted wanting to change the rate structure because it was having trouble collecting the fees due under current rate schedules. That is an administrative problem within FDEP that needs to be solved regardless of any proposed lease fee changes.

Now that FDEP has put its proposed changes on hold pending additional public comment, what do we need to do to make sure that Florida homeowners are treated fairly in whatever future decisions are made?

First, we cannot ease off our pressure on FDEP. We must clearly identify the issues and then offer suggestions for the fair and equitable resolution of these issues.

These are our 'talking points':

  1. Non-profit multi-family condominium association and single-family docks and boat slips should have their own set of rules and not be included with revenue-generating commercial marina docks and boat slips.

  2. The rules for ALL residential (multi-family and single-family) docks and boat slips in 18-21 FAC need to be rewritten so as to provide homeowners living in multi-family homes with the equivalent “fair rights of access†as homeowners living in single-family homes.

  3. The 10:1 ratio should be eliminated, period. As stated in #2, above, ALL residential homeowners (multi-family and single-family) should be guaranteed their fair rights of access to navigable waters.

  4. Submerged land lease fee increases for commercial users should be capped at the rate of increase of the consumer price index (CPI).

  5. The 6% tax levied on the value of any boat slip that is sold as part of a non-profit residential condominium as well as the 6% tax on condo maintenance fees should be eliminated.

  6. Legislation should be introduced that mandates these changes and does away with submerged land leases and fees for ALL residential homeowners, multi-family and single-family, altogether.

 On behalf of everyone who has worked so hard on this project -the FHFT Coalition - a sincere thank you for your continuing support.

Media Coverage:
"Existing condo docks may be spared fee hike", St. Petersburg Times, 9/24/2008
"Submerged Land Fees", Daily Business Review, 9/19/2008
"Hike for submerged land rental fees on hold", St. Petersburg Times, 9/7/2008
"Condo owners battle the state's dock-rental fee hike proposal", St. Petersburg Times, 8/9/2008
"Condo owners with docks to fight pending fee spike", St. Petersburg Times, 8/6/2008

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