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A proposed Florida Con-

stitutional amendment that would

permanently cap non-homestead

property assessments at 10 percent

a year will cost Florida taxpayers

$700 million annually if it is not

approved by 60 percent of state

voters on Nov. 6.

AMay 15 analysis of

Amendment 2 by TaxWatch, a

nonpartisan, nonprofit taxpayer re-

search institute, warns if Amend-

ment 2 fails, losing the

non-homestead exemption would

cost jobs and discourage small

business development.

“Loss of the non-home-

stead cap could have some serious

impacts on Florida, decreasing dis-

posable income, increasing rents

and business costs, and exacerbat-

ing and perpetuating the existing

inequities of Florida’s property tax

system,” TaxWatch warns in its re-


When Florida voters ap-

proved Constitutional Amendment

1 in 2008, they authorized sweep-

ing changes in how residential

properties are taxed.

Amendment 1 created an

additional $25,000 homestead ex-

emption for primary residences

and a $25,000 exemption for tangi-

ble personal property. Later, Save

Our Homes (SOH) initiatives al-

lowed these benefits to be

“portable,” transferrable from one

primary residence to another

homestead in Florida.

These three are permanent.

But a fourth provision, a 10-year,

10-percent cap on the growth of

non-homestead assessed value, ex-

pires Jan. 1, 2019.

In 2017, Florida lawmak-

ers placed Amendment 2, which

seeks to make the 10-percent cap

on all non-homestead property per-

manent, on the Nov. 6, 2018 ballot.

“Allowing the cap to ex-

pire will result in a property tax

hike that will unfairly and severely

impact renters and seniors on fixed

incomes, busi-

The Battle on the Blueway 2018

will be held June 9th, on the gulf side of Fort

Myers Beach, FL.

This sanctioned WPA points event will

feature two distance races (7 mile, 2 mile), a kids'

and Special Olympic race, a demo day, vendors

displaying paddle merchandise, and great raffles:

2 YOLO Beach bikes, a new paddle board to

name a few.

We contacted Mike Hammond at ‘The

Great Calusa Blueway’ about the event and he

told us that the event is set up as a paddle board

race but all “paddle” vessels are welcome to

enter, they already have single outrigger canoes

entered and kayaks as well.

Registration will begin at 7:30am and the

first race: The Ron Jon Pro Race, a 7 mile race,

will start at 9am, followed shortly thereafter by

the 2 mile race. (actually a little less than 2 miles)

The race will start at Crescent Beach Park

on Fort Myers Beach and head north past the pier,

paddlers will turn around near the Best Western

Hotel and head back to Crescent Beach Park, with

the 7 mile pro competitors doing 4 laps.

Spectators can watch anywhere along the

beach between the park and the hotel but a great

place to watch the whole race will be on the pier.

The awards ceremony will be held at

Crescent Beach Park following the pro race.

This event is part of the Fastest in

Florida which consist of 8 SUP races in the state

of Florida giving points to the top 5 finishers.

One of our local paddlers is leading in

points for the women. Great job Cindy Welton

Gibson and good luck!

This is a safe family oriented event that

will have safety crews, the Fire Dept, and life

guards on hand with a festival atmosphere that

brings paddling and Florida's native wildlife and

Calusa heritage together. Benefiting Lee County

Special Olympics.

Bi-Weekley May 31 - June 13, 2018

Covering the Gulf Coast of South Florida

Vol. 3 No. 33

On Vacation? Take us home with you! Read our digital Flipbook version at


Cont. pg 5


Over the centuries, many species of animal

and plant life have been introduced to our local en-

vironment, some turned out to be beneficial,

some....... not so much!

From the first medieval pigs abandoned in

Florida in 1521 through the invasion of the lionfish,

this presentation, held at The Fort Myers Regional

Library, located at 1651 Lee St, Fort Myers, FL.

33901, looks at how escaped or introduced species

have impacted the indigenous flora, fauna and seal-

ife of the Sunshine State.

The presentation will take place on June

18th from 6:30 till 8pm.

Lee County Special Olympics Benefit On Fort Myers Beach

Failure to Extend Non-Homestead Exemption

Would Cost Florida Taxpayers $700 Million

State Catastrophe Fund

Seeks to Expand

You’d expect worst-case scenarios to be a

regular agenda item for an advisory council ap-

pointed to manage the Florida Hurricane Catas-

trophe Fund (FHCF).

Those expectations were met late last

week during the nine-member council’s meeting

as part of a good news, bad news presentation by

FHCF Chief Operating Officer Anne Bert.

The good news is the FHCF has enough

money in its reserves to cover its “maximum po-

tential liability” from Hurricane Irma with $17.3

billion – $300 million more than statutorily man-

dated – now “available for the subsequent sea-


The bad news is the FHCF may not have

enough money should Florida experience a mas-

sive storm, such as Hurricane Andrew in 1992, or

a series of hurricanes that pounded the state in


“We certainly faced that in 2006, because

we wiped out the CAT Fund in ’04 and ’05,” Bert

told the council.

The worst-case scenario is not far-fetched

considering the population of the state’s seven

most high-risk counties – Miami-Dade, Broward,

Palm Beach, Lee, Collier, Charlotte, Monroe –

has grown by 58.3 percent since 1990.

One solution endorsed by the council

could be allowing the FHCF to sell more reserves

in “pre-event” and “post-event” bonds while in-

vesting up to $1 billion in capital markets.

The FHCF is a tax‐exempt trust fund cre-

ated by the Legislature in the wake of Hurricane

Andrew in 1993. It is administered by the State

Board of Administration, which is comprised of

the governor, the state’s chief financial officer and

attorney general.

The SBA’s next quarterly meeting is in

Great Florida Invasion:

From Peppers to Pythons

Cont. pg 5

Cont. pg 10