Associated Press 

Florida county struggles with understaffed 911 call center  

Broward County’s emergency call center is greatly understaffed and the sheriff told county commissioners his agency does not have the money to fill the empty positions. In addition, Sheriff Gregory Tony said Tuesday that he is also having a difficult time retaining other dispatchers who can make more money elsewhere. “We’re going to continue to lose these people,” he warned. “This will always be a problem here whether we want to admit it or not.” 

Orange County Commission greenlights Jerry Demings’ transportation tax referendum 

With late concessions for changes in an oversight board and a passionate plea to move forward, Orange County Mayor Jerry Demings managed Tuesday to pull together the votes he needed to ask voters to approve a sales tax increase for transportation. By a 4-3 vote Tuesday night, the Orange County Board of County Commissioners voted to place a charter amendment on the ballot in the Nov. 8 General Election to increase the county’s sales tax by a penny for 20 years, raising a projected $600 million a year for transportation. 



Orange County voters will decide whether transportation needs are worth a penny more in sales tax 

Orange County officials say an enhanced mass transit system would include round-the-clock service, dramatically shorten commutes, provide new routes without going downtown and improve the frequency of service. Chart: Orange County The Orange County Board of Commissioners voted 4 to 3 to put a 20-year, one-cent sales tax for transportation on the November ballot. 



Clerk talks IT needs 

SEBRING — Digital security is expensive and extensive, especially for local governments. “Security is one of the least transparent technology investments, meaning it’s all behind the scenes,” said Thomas Haralson Jr., IT director for the Highlands County Clerk of the Courts Office. That is just one of the threats he outlined for the Board of County Commissioners and county administration officials as they prepare for budget talks and workshops for Fiscal Year 2022-23. 


Sarasota Herald Tribune  

Sarasota County votes to increase bed tax from 5% to 6% 

Newly rated as a “high-impact” tourism area, Sarasota County will have a new 6% tax on short-term stays to accompany the status. The County Commission voted Tuesday to raise the county’s tourism development tax from 5% to 6% as state law allows for the high-impact tourism areas. In March, the Florida Department of Revenue certified Sarasota County with the designation. Only high-impact tourism areas are allowed to charge the maximum percentage fixed in state law. 


Fort Myers Florida Weekly 

$2 million HUD grant to assist people experiencing homelessness 

The Lee Board of County Commissioners voted to accept more than $2 million in Continuum of Care grant funds from U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development to provide housing and services to persons who are experiencing homelessness. Funds are administered by Human and Veteran Services and local nonprofit agencies. About 2,970 individuals will be provided information, referrals, housing and supportive services. The allocation will be spent during fiscal years 2022 and 2023. 



Population problems: St. Johns County Commission holds growth management workshop 

  1. AUGUSTINE, Fla — How to deal with an influx of people is the subject of another growth management meeting Tuesday in St. Johns County. St. Johns is one of the fastest growing counties in the country and the influx of people affects traffic, water and the environment. Dozens of people turned up for the two-hour meeting and some strong feelings were displayed during the public comment period.


Tampa Bay Times 

Pinellas County commission votes to sue state over new election law 

Pinellas County commissioners voted Tuesday to sue the state over its new elections reform law, which includes a provision they say illegally targets Pinellas to accommodate the political ambitions of one state legislator. On Monday, Gov. Ron DeSantis signed a bill that created an office within the executive branch to investigate election crime. 

Pinellas Commission votes to pursue lawsuit over election bill as Chris Latvala confirms 2022 run 

‘We all know that if we decide to file suit that the Governor will get out his veto pen. It’s disgusting.’ The Pinellas County Commission has decided to pursue legal action against the Legislature over a measure that would put the Commission’s single-member seats up for election in 2022 — a measure that would exclusively affect Pinellas County. 


Miami Today 

County legislation blitz in the works over sheriff 

Miami-Dade residents are set to elect new constitutional officers, including a new county sheriff, in 2024, and ahead of their elections, commissioners are working on multiple pieces of legislation to redefine their functions and powers. Commissioners plan a special meeting May 5 to discuss the functions of the to-be-elected officials.  

Nassau County Commissioners urged to keep ceiling on tower heights 

Residents asked Commissioners to get an independent review of the case against the county. 

Amelia Island residents who want to keep tower design standards with lower heights implored Nassau County Commissioners to stand firm against Riverstone Properties, which sued Nassau County in June 2021, claiming the county’s standards hurt the company’s ability to make a profit. 



Local Governments Vie for New Round of Congressional Earmarks 

The revival of what critics deride as “pork” yielded $2.7 billion for localities this year. Now they’re looking to secure even more of the federal cash. “We’ve had dozens of communities across our district submit requests,” says one House lawmaker.  In Boonsboro, Maryland, a town of roughly 3,500 people, officials were distressed to discover last year that a lot less water was coming out of a local 58-year-old drinking water reservoir than was going in. 

Federal Covid Aid is Funding a Pickleball Court Construction Boom 

Pickleball is the nation’s fastest growing sport and cities and towns are using money from the American Rescue Plan to build facilities for the legions of new players. When Sally Hudgins of East Lansing, Michigan was introduced to pickleball more than a decade ago, few people had heard of the paddle sport with the whimsical name. 



Tampa Bay Times 

DeSantis sets dates for session on rising property insurance rates 

TALLAHASSEE — Gov. Ron DeSantis on Tuesday called Florida legislators back into a special session to address Florida’s failing property insurance market, an issue that was left unresolved during the regular legislative session earlier this year. The session, which will be set for May 23-27, marks the second special session called by DeSantis in the past two months. 



Orlando Sentinel 

Dissolving Disney World’s Reedy Creek district could break deal with bondholders, bring lawsuits 

Gov. Ron DeSantis’ battle with The Walt Disney Co. could involve breaking a promise Florida made to bondholders, opening the door to lawsuits from investors and complicating the GOP’s push to punish what they call a “woke” corporation. DeSantis signed legislation on Friday to abolish the Reedy Creek Improvement District on June 1, 2023. That special district effectively allows Disney to self-govern its theme park and resort properties in Central Florida. 


Miami Herald 

Disney’s special district tells investors state can’t dissolve it without paying debt  

As Florida legislators were rushing through passage of a bill to repeal the special district that governs Walt Disney World last week, they failed to notice an obscure provision in state law that says the state could not do what legislators were doing — unless the district’s bond debt was paid off.  



States Experiment With Orange Highway Striping in Work Zones 

It’s among the latest attempts to cut down on crashes in construction areas. Traffic engineers in southern California are trying to figure out whether orange striping in work zones can help improve safety, an idea that their counterparts around the country have tried to perfect for more than a decade. The California engineers are using the orange pavement markings during construction to add carpool lanes on a four-mile segment of Interstate 5 north of San Diego.