Manatee County Commissioner James Satcher wants employees to be able to exercise their Second Amendment right at work. “We’ve got 2,000 employees that are spending 40 plus hours a week at work, and right now, they’re not able to exercise their Second Amendment rights,” said Commissioner Satcher.
Commissioners voted down an ordinance that would have required landlords to give tenants a 60-day notice if the rent was going up more than five-percent. The ordinance will be addressed again at the next meeting, though some people are not happy about Tuesday’s decision. Elizabeth Radi with the Collier County Tenant Union says the ordinance would’ve bought people time to look for a new home, if they had to.
Northwest Florida Daily News
Andres Duany, the architect and urban planner who designed the Walton County community of Seaside, has begun turning his attention to a pressing need for workforce housing. His developing solution, outlined in front of a small group of local business people, community activists and others Monday at the Seaside Assembly Hall, is a new take on “tiny houses,” easily portable structures that can be built elsewhere and brought to the community and placed on raw land or even in parking lots.
Tuesday was supposed to be just a presentation by Broward County Sheriff Gregory Tony, speaking about the issues BSO is currently having with staffing at the 911 call centers. At one point, things got a bit heated between the sheriff and one of the commissioners. Tony started off by presenting to the commissioners, explaining that about 20 percent of their communications staff positions are unfilled.
The Leon County Commission wants to preserve local history, bring money to the community to combat the opioid crisis, and figure out the best way to reduce gun violence. All of these were agenda items at Tuesday’s meeting. Here’s some insight into that meeting: “I would like the commission to take a more proactive approach,” Jeremy Block said.
Instead, governments can publish notices digitally on websites maintained by county governments. HB 7049 allows local governments to continue to post notices in local papers if they choose but the bill changes the law to make clear that notices can be posted in papers that are distributed for free.
A new, three-digit number for mental health emergencies is set to roll out nationally in about nine weeks but some states still aren’t ready to handle what experts predict could be a crush of calls. The federally-mandated 988 system will strengthen and expand the existing 10-digit National Suicide Prevention hotline. It’s meant to make it easier for people in crisis to get the help they need without routing their calls through 911 public safety dispatchers.
Today’s electric vehicle charging infrastructure is concentrated along the coasts and in major cities. To expand electric vehicle use nationwide, the departments of Transportation and Energy announced funding for a national electric vehicle charging network in February. Over the next five years, the program will provide nearly $5 billion to create a network of EV charging stations along Federal Highway Administration-designated alternative fuel corridors on major interstates.
Austin joins at least 28 U.S. cities, like Los Angeles, Chicago and Pittsburgh, that have tried out some form of “guaranteed income” — financial assistance targeted at needy households. “Austin becomes first Texas city to test a taxpayer-funded “guaranteed income” program” was first published by The Texas Tribune, a nonprofit, nonpartisan media organization that informs Texans — and engages with them — about public policy, politics, government and statewide issues.
May 10, 2022
May 1 through 7 was Public Service Recognition Week. Since 1985, this first week in May is the annual celebration of the contributions of public servants in federal, state, local and tribal government. Across the nation, more than 18,000,000 of our neighbors, friends and relatives serve in government, including in our public schools and universities.
Treasure Coast Newspapers
- LUCIE COUNTY— The county’s largest septic-to-sewer conversion project could finally happen next year, and some property owners may be asked to help foot the bill. Approximately 532 property owners on North Hutchinson Island — in the Fort Pierce Shores, Queens Cove, Coastal Cove (Jackson Way) and Coral Cove neighborhoods — may have to dish out $535 to $817 a year for 20 years to convert their aging septic tanks to sewers.
Pensacola News Journal
Escambia County is taking a closer look at its debris hauling contracts as the clock is ticking closer to the 2022 hurricane season. County commissioners rejected a list of potential debris removal contractors on Thursday in a 3-1 vote and now seek a new list of contractors after questions arose over the procurement process for the contract.
The vacancy on the Brevard County Board left by former Commissioner Bryan Lober has provided the Commission with leftover COVID-19 relief funds that one commissioner has found a use for — to use for raises for county employees. Board members approved a proposal from Commissioner John Tobia for a cost-of-living adjustment for county employees of $1 per hour or 5.38%, whichever is greater.
Palm Beach County Commissioner Gregg Weiss attended an event at the White House on Monday where President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris announced cost reductions for high-speed internet for millions of Americans. “I’ve heard from constituents throughout Palm Beach County struggling to get access,” Weiss told WPTV.
With a discount already in place, 20 companies have agreed to offer service for $30 a month. Advocacy groups are hoping states will adopt similar pricing requirements. President Biden announced Monday that he’s convinced 20 major broadband providers, like AT&T and Comcast, to offer low-cost high-speed internet plans for $30 a month or less.
Taxpayers, lawmakers and digital privacy advocates rebelled earlier this year when the IRS announced plans to require taxpayers to upload selfies if they wanted online access to their tax records. The selfies were needed by an identity verification service, ID.me, to compare with applicants’ government-issued ID photos, the IRS said.
May 9, 2022
Northwest Florida Daily News
DeFUNIAK SPRINGS — In a process that momentarily went deeply granular, Walton County commissioners unofficially settled Tuesday on a vision statement for the county. The vision statement is part of a larger strategic planning effort that could, it was suggested Tuesday, even bring changes to the county’s seal and its “Pride, Preservation, Conservation” motto.
Orange County’s tourism industry is breaking records for the first time since the start of the pandemic. Orange County Comptroller Phil Diamond said this past March, Tourist Development Tax collection was $7 million higher than it was in 2019, and at $38,568,500, it was a 118.2% increase compared to the same month last year.
Highlands News Sun
SEBRING — Highlands County still has approximately 50 vacancies to fill, and needs to look at what it will cost to fill them. County commissioners recently discussed solutions, such as 10-hour days with four-days weeks or splitting some full-time positions into two part-time positions, allowing them to pay more per hour and saving on health insurance and other benefits.
Collier County Manager Mark Isackson plans to step down from his role on May 13, two months earlier than he had planned. The sudden resignation means the county will be without a manager while commissioners continue to narrow their six finalists for the job. In a memo sent to staff Wednesday, Isackson explained that his health has continued to deteriorate while he struggles with post-COVID complications.
MIAMI – Howard Perry said he fell on hard times after his pregnant wife and children died in a car crash. He owns a car, but he is homeless in Miami. Camillus House gave him a hand, and he has a job, but the dream of having access to a one-bedroom apartment feels far away. He qualified for a voucher program, and he is on a waiting list.
Sheriffs across Florida are preparing a court fight against Miami-Dade County ahead of the election for sheriff in 2024, with Mayor Daniella Levine Cava and commissioners trying to retain much of the policing power in County Hall. “From what I see, a lawsuit is coming,” Pinellas County Sheriff Bob Gualtieri said during a break from a Thursday County Commission meeting on legislation divvying up police resources and authority once the first Miami-Dade sheriff in decades takes office on Jan. 7, 2025, as required by the Florida Constitution. “I think it’s likely.”
The Biden administration says it will partner with internet providers to lower the cost of high-speed internet plans for low-income Americans, the White House announced Monday. The Affordable Connectivity Program will provide plans of at least 100 Megabits per second of speed for no more than $30. An estimated 48 million Americans will qualify.
AROUND THE COUNTRY
A Kansas county is using vehicles outfitted with rooftop cameras and LiDAR units to quickly and inexpensively capture property images that are integrated into its cloud-based appraisal system. Historically, property appraisers in Johnson County, Kansas, drove up to each structure, took photos and then entered them into a system when they were back at their office computer. This year, however, the county has gone digital.
BAY COUNTY Fla. (WMBB) – After a two-year-long battle, FEMA is finally giving Bay County $40 million to repair roads damaged after Hurricane Michael. Hundreds of trucks, hauling millions of tons of debris for about a year caused most of the damage. The county officials said they plan to start the repair work as soon as possible.
The $2 daily “subsistence” fee charged in Miami-Dade County jails for room and board rarely gets paid. Inmates owe $72 million, and Miami-Dade jail administrators want to drop the fee because of the disruption it causes behind bars. – Miami-Dade corrections Miami-Dade County jails charge inmates $2 a day for room and board, a fee that’s rarely paid and creates a shadow economy behind bars that administrators want to eliminate.
Gainesville Business Report
Alachua County has been selected as one of Stepping Up’s growing cohort of Innovator Counties – counties that are successfully using the Stepping Up suggested three-step approach to collect and analyze timely data on the prevalence of people who have mental illnesses in jails. Alachua County will be sharing its experience and expertise and helping other counties across the nation learn to collect accurate and accessible data on the number of people with mental illnesses in their jails.
With booming development and a surging population, Orange County government is eyeing a new home for its building divisions. The county is studying the possibility of building a multi-story office complex on 6 acres it owns near the Orange County Jail, said Anne Kulikowski, county director of administrative services.
BARTOW — Polk County is set to build septage receiving stations at existing wastewater treatment plants in about 18 months. Once those facilities are up and running, the county could move to ban land disposal of sewage, according to discussion at the county’s agenda study on Monday.
STUART, Fla. (CBS12) — Suited up and patrolling the streets of Martin County are 266 field-deputies. The Martin County Sheriff’s Office, at Tuesday’s County Commission meeting said road-personnel run the risk of coming face-to-face with danger, which should be caught on body-worn cameras for a number of reasons.
MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Renters in Miami-Dade walked out of Tuesday’s commission meeting with bright smiles. It’s because commissioners voted unanimously to pass the Tenant Bill of Rights ordinance. “It will help alleviate the pressure they feel,” said District 2 Commissioner Jean Monestime, who is also co-sponsor of the legislation
Ormond Beach Observer
Though the Volusia County Council had already approved the allocation of American Rescue Plan Act funds for domestic violence services, on Tuesday, May 3, the County Council voted 6-1 to table a grant agreement with the Beacon Center until June 7, citing a “vague” budget plan and concern about the domestic violence shelter’s proposal to use a portion of the funds for a statewide conference.
Attackers targeting states and localities demanded the lowest ransom payments of any sector surveyed, but victims were more likely to pay, according to a recent report. Ransomware is getting worse—in just about every way. Between the growing number and sophistication of attacks and the increasing financial burden it places on state and local governments, the impact is immense.
The Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency and FEMA are rolling out the first of $1 billion the Homeland Security agencies got to help state and local entities improve cybersecurity. As the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency prepares to disburse $1 billion in funding through the Federal Emergency Management Agency to improve the cybersecurity of critical infrastructure around the country, director Jen Easterly drew lawmakers’ attention to the needs of the water sector in asking for the program to receive an additional $80 million.
May 2, 2022
He’ll serve through November 2024. Two-time Key West City Manager Jim Scholl, a former commander of Naval Air Station Key West, is Monroe County’s newest Commissioner. Gov. Ron DeSantis on Friday appointed Scholl to the role. Scholl will finish out the term of Eddie Martinez, who resigned in December after his arrest in Hialeah on domestic battery charges.
Pensacola News Journal
County employees in Santa Rosa can expect to see a positive change in their paychecks starting next month, after county officials agreed to increase wages by $1 per hour starting May 16 as a way to attract and retain employees. “We can’t hire people. We’re losing people. I mean, it’s only fair that people who work for the county government get paid somewhat equivalent to what’s out there in the public,” said Santa Rosa County Commission Chairman Bob Cole.
Highlands News Sun
SEBRING — Highlands County has at least 20 career positions advertised online right now, with approximately 58 total vacancies throughout them. At the last county commission meeting, County Administrator Randy Vosburg announced the county had hired nine people, but they had lost 10 to resignations, retirement or recruitment by other organizations and businesses.
Tampa Bay Times
DADE CITY — Earlier this month, Mark Twaalfhoven urged Pasco County commissioners to enact tighter development regulations about Pasco’s general aviation airports. The pitch was a familiar one. Twaalfhoven and his neighbors, who live around the Pilot Country Airport north of State Road 52 in central Pasco, made the same arguments in October 2020.
WINTER HAVEN — If local government officials and leaders had to summarize the state of Polk County, it would likely come down to one word: growth. Coming off of two years managing COVID-19, Polk County has experienced unprecedented amounts of growth. It’s the fastest-growing county in Florida and the seventh-fastest growing in the nation.
SEMINOLE COUNTY, Fla. — Believe it or not, a lot of work goes into one drop of clean water Factors like temperature and how the wells are doing on any particular day can have a big impact on clean drinking water. There is a lot of work that goes on behind the scenes in treatment plants to make sure they are pumping out clean drinking water on a daily basis.
Is it any wonder folks up the Keys occasionally (OK, a lot) wish Key West weren’t so arrogantly dismissive of and willfully ignorant of the 21st century challenges they face? For 200 years, Key West was the legendary alpha dog for which local political control meant one thing: Key West decided.
It can take upwards of a year to make funding available under a Department of Housing and Urban Development grant program that the president wants to rework. There’s at least some bipartisan support for reforms in Congress. President Biden is proposing changes to speed up the delivery of money to states under a U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development program that funnels billions of dollars to devastated communities after natural disasters, like floods, hurricanes and wildfires.
The Category 6 hurricane’s howling winds accelerate to a startling 200 mph in Miami, mercilessly pummeling a two-story wood-frame house until the roof tears off and the rattling windows explode. And a towering 20-foot storm surge spawns battering waves, swamping the structure and shoving it off its foundation like a doomed dollhouse.
Following an announcement from Twitter that the long awaited “edit” feature is currently in the testing process, and news about Elon Musk taking on ownership, what do government social media managers need to know? Twitter recently announced that a feature that would enable users to edit published tweets is currently in the testing phase.
AROUND THE COUNTRY
Fort Worth, Texas, has installed three bitcoin mining machines in its data center as part of a six-month pilot to assess the implications and opportunities of minting cryptocurrency. Fort Worth, Texas, has installed bitcoin mining machines in city hall. Mayor Mattie Parker turned on three Bitmain Antminer S9s bitcoin mining machines in the Information Technology Solutions Department’s data center.
In the nation’s statehouses and city halls, officials want remote meetings to outlast the Covid-19 crisis. Disability advocates are among those who support the idea. Others worry about the loss of in-person interactions and diminished oversight. Attorney Kathy Flaherty has long been a fixture at the Connecticut state Capitol, but the lobbyist for people living with mental illness hasn’t spent too much time there lately.
B-HEARD provides a way for 911 mental health calls to be routed to teams made up of one mental health professional and two EMTs. There’s not much that former police officer and New York City Mayor Eric Adams could say to make socialist Public Advocate Jumaane Williams get to his feet in applause. But announcing a new investment in the city’s mental health crisis response teams accomplished just that earlier this week during Adams’ executive budget address.
NWFlorida Daily News
SANTA ROSA BEACH — Well, OK, maybe. But 30 years? That was a prevailing public sentiment Tuesday as the Walton County Board of County Commissioners approved the placement of a referendum on the county’s Nov. 8 ballot seeking an additional penny in sales tax to fund transportation projects. Currently, one penny of local sales tax raises $38 million annually in the county.
NWFlorida Daily News
SHALIMAR — At the Okaloosa County Commission’s budget policy workshop on Tuesday, County Administrator John Hofstad said he anticipates sticking with the current countywide 3.83 millage rate for fiscal 2023. The new fiscal year starts Oct. 1. The 3.83-mill rate, which has been in place for several years, equals $383 per $100,000 of taxable property value.
Tampa Bay 10
Hillsborough County has a backlog of requests to fix cracked and lifted sidewalks. LITHIA, Fla. — Cracking, lifted sidewalks are creating a safety hazard and even destroying driveways. It’s a problem in most older Hillsborough County neighborhoods and many homeowners want to know why it takes so long to get them fixed.
Rather than repairing streetlights in the order outages are reported, San Diego weighs data on location, residential density, the presence of schools or parks and traffic collision information to prioritize repairs and increase efficiency. With 5,000 broken streetlights and a repair staff short 10 workers, San Diego developed an algorithm to help prioritize fixes.
Officials say that following the numbers and looking at evidence has proven useful in tackling a range of equity issues and with steering clear of partisan fights. State and local officials on Wednesday emphasized the importance of governments basing decisions on data, saying it has helped localities address inequities and avoid pitfalls with the nation’s sharp political divisions.
COMMENTARY | As cities grapple with rising homelessness, states struggle to distribute relief money. But change is within our grasp. You don’t have to be a social worker to see how America’s battle against homelessness is going. Across the nation, the homeless are no longer relegated to a certain part of town or some distant neighborhood. They are at our own doorsteps.
State and local government officials should respond to cyber incidents with well-practiced disaster recovery plans, one Colorado official said. Responding to an incident as if it were a disaster can give officials a way to activate a whole-of-government response and funding options, said William Chumley, the state’s chief customer officer and interim chief information security officer.