Blog

  PBA uses this blog to post individual articles from our monthly newsletters. Members can comment on these articles.
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  • 05/26/2017 9:39 AM | Anonymous

    Senators Nelson & Rubio requested Senate committees take up and report to the full Senate S.1073 (2017).  The bill would permit leaseholders on Pensacola Beach and Navarre Beach to obtain fee simple title to their land.  https://www.congress.gov/bill/115th-congress/senate-bill/1073  It mirrors a companion bill in the U.S. House, proposed by Rep. Gaetz.  https://www.congress.gov/bill/115th-congress/house-bill/2370


  • 03/02/2017 11:37 AM | Anonymous

    Mark your calendars! Beachkeepers will be hosting the 3rd annual Eco Happy Hour on Thursday, March 9th. The event will be held in the fellowship hall at the Beach Church from 4 to 6 pm.

    Come sip and socialize and enjoy eco friendly information along with tips on how to protect our beach and preserve it's wildlife. The line-up of presenters include: 


    -SRIA
    -ECUA
    -Florida Sea Grant
    -Keep Pensacola Beautiful
    -Ocean Hour
    -National Park Service
    -Florida Audobon
    -Navarre Beach Sea Turtle Conservation Center

    Show up : Receive rafffle tickets just for your eco-awareness
    Recycle : Bring in your Mardi Gras beads and receive additional raffle tickets
    Test your knowledge : Take our Eco Quiz and be entered to win a 1 night stay on beautiful Pensacola Beach
    Beach clean up : Gather some beach litter and be entered to win a 2 night stay from Resort Quest




  • 09/18/2016 7:46 PM | Anonymous

    The Pensacola Beach Advocates will hold our annual meeting on October 13 2016, at the Pensacola Beach Community Church starting at 6:30 pm.

    The agenda will include the following:

    • Board Elections for three positions. If you are interested in serving on the PBA Board as an officer or as a director, please contact Benjamin Stevenson by email box353+PBA@gmail.com. The board only meets a few times a year and much business is done by email.
    • Attorney Ed Flemming will discuss lawsuits challenging ad valorem taxation of beach properties.
    • Paolo Ghio, Executive Director, will provide an update on current work and projects of the Santa Rosa Island Authority (SRIA)

    Please plan to attend. We will be accepting checks for membership dues at the meeting. Any checks or payment received after September 1st of this year will be applied to the following year


  • 09/01/2016 7:44 PM | Anonymous

    PBA is looking for a volunteer communication specialist to provide website updates, work with webmaster, communicate with membership, and manage PBA Facebook and other social media accounts.  If you are interested in helping the PBA or know someone who is, please contact Benjamin Stevenson by email box353+PBA@gmail.com

  • 08/15/2016 9:18 AM | Anonymous

    By Melissa Nelson Gabriel, PNJ.com

    Less than a year after cutting annual lease fees in half for Pensacola Beach residents and businesses, the Santa Rosa Island Authority is considering hiking the fees to make up for potential lost revenue from an ongoing property tax dispute.

    At issue is the complex system of lease agreements created by the county since the late 1940s to allow development on the barrier island, which was deeded to the county by the federal government after World War II. Under the deed agreement, the county was prohibited from selling Pensacola Beach land outright. To promote development, the county entered into thousands of 99-year lease agreements with people wanting to live or open businesses on the beach.

    County tax appraisers later began to assesses property taxes on the beach leaseholders. The move promoted a series of lawsuits over several decades questioning whether the lease holders could be taxed for property that is leased and, technically, not owned.

    In the latest court case, an appeals court overturned a decision by a lower court judge. The appeal court's decision meant that the county could not collect taxes on 12 acres of land where two Portofino Resort towers are scheduled to be built. The Florida Supreme Court recently declined to the county's request to hear the case. The decision governed taxes on the actual land and not on structures built on the land.

    The case hinged on language in the lease agreement stating it would not be automatically renewed after 99 years. Other leases state that the agreements will be automatically renewed after 99 years.

    Since the ruling, Chris Jones, Escambia County tax appraiser, said his staff has reviewed more than 4,500 lease agreements and determined that about half of the agreements are not automatically renewable. The county will not assess taxes on land leased to those lease holders in its upcoming notice of proposed taxes, he said. The land that will not be taxed represents about $80 million in assessed property value, which translates into about $1.2 million in tax revenue that would have been split between the county and the Escambia County School district, Jones said.

    The ruling does not affect the proposed tax assessments for unit owners in about 26 condo buildings on the beach because a court case involving condominiums is still pending in the courts, Jones said. Homeowners associations for many of the condominiums are expected to file separate lawsuits this fall questioning the property tax system on the beach.

    At a meeting of the Santa Rosa Island Authority last week, commission chairman Dave Pavlock suggested that the SRIA might need to raise lease fees in the future to make up for the lost revenue.

    In October, the island authority cut lease fees in half for most commercial and residential leaseholders. The move came after Escambia County took over public works and public safety operations on the island, which meant the authority no longer had to cover those expenses with lease fees. But Pavlock said the loss to county coffers because of the tax case could potentially affect services on Pensacola Beach. The Island Authority might need to make up for the lost revenue by raising lease fees, he said.

    "The decision we will have to face as a board is whether to look at reestablishing the fees that we cut," he said.

    Escambia County Commissioner Grover Robinson, whose district includes Pensacola Beach, said uncertainty over beach tax revenue has created a difficult situation for county financial planners.

    "Right now, the county is reacting to whatever happens in the courts. The board (of county commissioners) is not involved in the lawsuit in any way but we are the ones that have to deal with ramifications," he said. "It is extremely difficult when you don't know how you are going to drive the revenues needed to provide necessary services."

    To see the original article, click here.



  • 07/28/2016 3:22 PM | Anonymous

    Escambia County will host a public workshop Thursday, July 28 from 5:30 - 7 p.m. to provide information and gather input for the planned improvements scheduled for the Quietwater Beach Pier, which is one of the three ferry landing sites for the Pensacola Bay Ferry Passenger Service expected to begin March 2017. The workshop will take place at the Santa Rosa Island Authority Office board meeting room, located at 1 Via De Luna Drive on Pensacola Beach.

    County staff will be available to answer questions from citizens, and project consultant Hatch Mott MacDonald will provide phase I concept displays, information and public comment forms. District 4 Commissioner and Chairman Grover Robinson will also attend the workshop to speak about the project.


  • 07/22/2016 1:57 PM | Anonymous

    The Island Resorts v. Jones beach land case has officially concluded with Florida Supreme Court refusing to grant a rehearing on the case.  To read the detailed press release from the law firm of McDonald, Fleming, Moorhead and Robert Rinke, click here:  Taxcase-press release.pdf

  • 07/21/2016 9:55 AM | Anonymous

    Sea Turtle Baby Shower Celebrates Beach’s Newest Wildlife

    Meet Mia the Mermaid or take the Sea Turtle Oath at the Sea Turtle Baby Shower, Saturday, August 13 from 2 to 5 p.m. at Pensacola Beach’s Landshark Landing. It’s a celebration of Pensacola Beach’s sea turtles. Learn about the mama turtle who returns to her birth place, Pensacola Beach, to lay her nest and the tiny hatchlings who emerge and head for the Gulf of Mexico. Make your own sea turtle ornament and touch a real turtle shell. There will be contests, games, performances, educational kiosks, give-aways, art vendors and a prize basket drawing. The event will take place at Landshark Landing, which is located on Fort Pickens Road on the Margaritaville Beach Hotel property.  

    If all the fun makes you thirsty, stop by the water booth to purchase a Turtles Dig the Dark souvenir reusable cup filled with ice cold water. Proceeds benefit the Navarre Beach Sea Turtle Marine Conservation Center.

    The event is sponsored by the Pensacola Beach Advocates, Holiday Inn Express, Margaritaville Beach Hotel and Emerald Coast Utilities Authority.

    For more details, go to www.pbadvocates.org or call 850-916-6971.

    EVENT SCHEDULE

    2:00    Opening ceremony, Sea Turtle Oath; All Booths, Games, Vendors Open

    2:30    1-2-3 Nest Youth Challenge

    3:00    1-2-3 Nest Celebrity Challenge

    3:30    Meg the Mermaid

    4:00    Baby Bath Clean Water demo

    4:30    Sea Turtle Survivor 

    5:00    Closing Ceremonies; All Booths, Games, Vendors Close

    TurtleBabyShower flyer 8.5x11 2016.pdf



  • 05/12/2016 1:24 PM | Anonymous

    by Melissa Nelson Gabriel, PNJ.com, 5/12/16

    A Florida appeals court Wednesday rejected Escambia County's request to rehear a case prohibiting the county from collecting property taxes on 12 acres of Pensacola Beach land where two Portofino resort towers are proposed.

    Escambia County Property Appraiser Chris Jones said the county will ask the Florida Supreme Court to review the case.

    "We are disappointed that the court has decided not to allow a rehearing on this important issue for Escambia County and for beach residents. We knew it was going to be a long shot, but we were hoping they would reconsider," Jones said.

    Jones said county attorneys are continuing to review the case and are working to determine what it means for other beach property owners.

    The ruling is the latest development in years of litigation over the complicated lease system Escambia County has used for decades to allow residential and commercial development on Santa Rosa Island. The barrier island was deeded by the federal government to the county in the aftermath of World War II. Under the deed agreement, the county is restricted from selling the land outright.

    Edward Fleming, an attorney for developer Island Resorts, called Wednesday's decision a win for all Pensacola Beach property owners.

    "It has set a precedent for the entire beach," he said.

    Island Resorts has proposed two towers that would become part of the Portofino development.

    At issue in the appeals case is whether the county can collect property taxes on land that is leased.

    In overturning an earlier decision by Escambia County Circuit Judge Edward Nickinson, Florida's 1st District Court of Appeal said in March that Island Resorts should not be required to pay property taxes because it does not own the land.

    "The appellant is not the equitable owner of the leased land," the ruling stated. "The appellant bears all the burdens during the term of the lease, at the end which all rights revert to the lessor."

    Jones said a complicating factor is that various county attorneys have used different language in beach lease agreements over the last 70 years. Jones said subtle differences in the lease language about the terms of renewal could create differences in how a court looks at whether the land is subject to property taxes.

    "What could be created is two different classes of leaseholders. You might have language that is almost identical to your neighbors, but the result could be different because of a very subtle difference in the renewal language on the lease," he said.

    Jones said the county hopes the state Supreme Court will provide clarity on the issue.

    According to the appellate court ruling, finite leases, which are not perpetually renewed, are not subject to property taxes. Previous rulings have stated that perpetually renewable leases are subject to the taxes.

    If the ruling is not overturned by the Supreme Court, Escambia County would have to repay more than $450,000 in property taxes paid by the developer since 2011. Other litigation could be affected if the Supreme Court upholds the decision. Fleming has filed similar appeals involving $8.3 million in property taxes paid by Portofino and $2.1 million paid by Beach Club Resort.

    Levin Rinke Realty recently sponsored an educational meeting for beach property owners about the complicated issue. Fleming and attorney Todd Harris answered questions from dozens of property owners during the event. Fleming said additional educational meetings are planned.

    For a link to the original article click here.





  • 02/25/2016 9:13 PM | Anonymous

    Pensacola Beach Advocates' Beachkeepers will hosts its 2nd annual Eco Happy Hour on Thursday, March 10, 2016, in Pensacola Beach Community Church's Fellowship Hall from 3:30pm to 6:30pm.

    Come sip and socialize and enjoy eco-friendly information along with tips on how to protect our beach and preserve it's wildlife. The line-up of presenters include:

    -ECUA
    -Florida Sea Grant
    -Garden Gate
    -Ocean Hour
    -SRIA
    -National Park Service
    -Florida Audubon
    -Escambia County Marine Resources
    -Navarre Beach Sea Turtle Conservation Center

    The prizes are bigger and better than last year. You will be able to test your knowledge with the Eco Quiz and be entered to win a free night on the beach from Days Inn. Bring a bag of Mardi Gras beads to be recycled and you will receive an additional raffle drawing ticket.  Spend a little time and effort picking up some beach trash and you will be entered to win a 2 night stay at the beach from Resort Quest.


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