See Below for Important Announcements & News You Can Use from Sandy: (Scroll down to view more News You Can Use)

EXTRA! EXTRA!

 

For Immediate Release
Media Contact: 
Kara Walker
Communications & Digital Media
Office (813) 272-6699; Cell (813) 728-1447

 

Once-A-Week Watering Restrictions Take Effect in Hillsborough on June 5

 

Hillsborough County, Fla. (June 2, 2017) – Tighter water restrictions, including limiting lawn watering to once a week, will go into effect in Hillsborough County beginning Monday, June 5.

The region may have received some rain recently, but it has not been enough to make up for months of less-than-normal amounts. The Southwest Florida Water Management District has declared a Modified Phase III Water Shortage for several counties, including Hillsborough, Pasco, and Pinellas. The restrictions are in effect until at least Tuesday, Aug. 1.

The new schedule for watering established lawns and landscaping throughout Hillsborough County, including the cities of Tampa, Plant City, and Temple Terrace, is:

  • Addresses ending in 0 or 1 – Mondays
  • Addresses ending in 2 or 3 – Tuesdays
  • Addresses ending in 4 or 5 – Wednesdays
  • Addresses ending in 6 or 7 – Thursdays
  • Addresses ending in 8 or 9, locations with no address, and locations with mixed addresses (such as office complexes and shopping centers) – Fridays

All watering must be done before 8 a.m. or after 6 p.m.

The tighter restrictions apply to all residents and most water sources. That includes private wells, and ponds or lakes that are used as alternate irrigation supplies.

Reclaimed water customers are exempt from the water restrictions; however, they are asked to avoid using the resource excessively or unnecessarily.

Other highlights of the Modified Phase III Water Shortage restrictions:

  • Hand-watering: residents may hand-water plants and shrubs, or use a micro-irrigation system in landscaping beds, at any time.
  • New sod and landscaping: Days 1-30, water any day. Days 31-60, water approximately every other day (even-numbered addresses on Tuesday, Thursday, and Sunday; odd-numbered addresses on Monday, Wednesday, and Saturday).
  • Vehicle washing: individuals may wash vehicles once a week, on the designated watering day for the address. Commercial car washes are allowed at any time. Fundraising car washes are not allowed unless they were scheduled before May 23.
  • Pressure washing: allowed once a year, and for necessary purposes such as prior to painting or sealing, in order to maintain a paint or material warranty, to address a health or safety hazard, or to comply with health laws.
  • Fountains and other aesthetic water features: may only operate eight hours per day. The regular hours of operation can be selected by the owner, but must be posted.
  • Homeowners associations: must suspend any requirement to replace lawns, pressure wash, or engage in other activity which increases water use.

In unincorporated Hillsborough County, violating the restrictions could mean a fine of $100 for the first offense, $200 for the second, leading up to $500 for the fifth and succeeding violations. Non-payment will result in a summons to appear before a code enforcement special magistrate and the possibility of additional fines and a lien being placed against the property.

For complete information on water restrictions and consumption usage and tips, visit HCFLGov.net/Water.

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Keep your home safe during the dry season: Click here to keep your home from being a HOT SPOT

Hillsborough County Extends Emergency Ban on Open Burning

 

Hillsborough County, Fla. (May 17, 2017) – Members of the Emergency Policy Group today extended an executive order banning open burning in Hillsborough County until at least May 25.

Warm temperatures and dry conditions have combined to increase the danger of wildfires in our area. The ban has been in place since April 27.
Under the executive order:

  • A local state of emergency is declared.
  • All outdoor open burning is prohibited. The only exception is burning that has been specifically allowed in writing by the Florida Forest Service.
  • Any authorized outdoor burning shall be conducted in strict compliance with state statutes, agency rules, or any other written conditions imposed by the agency or department. Any person conducting outdoor burning authorized by a state agency shall provide a copy of the written authorization to the Emergency Dispatch Center no less than 24 hours prior to conducting the burn.
  • The order bans fireworks and sparklers.
  • Outdoor grilling is allowed, as long as the flames are contained within a grill or other fireproof container, and the fire is constantly attended and extinguished fully.

By law, the order can be made for no more than seven days. If conditions persist, the order can be extended.

Safety Tips

  • Remove fuels that can lead flames to your home or that can be ignited by windblown embers.
  • Clear away dead grass, leaves, twigs, and branches from structures, roofs, rain gutters, decks, and walkways.
  • Store firewood at least 30 feet from occupied structures.
  • Plant landscaping that retains moisture and resists ignition, such as native, fire-resistant vegetation.
  • Help emergency responders find your home faster by making sure that street numbers are easy to read.
  • Install metal screening that blocks embers from entering structures.
  • Know where the closest firefighting water source is to your home or building.
  • Dispose of cigarette butts properly.
  • Pick up light-refracting metal items, such as soda cans, that can spark a fire.
  • Don’t park vehicles over high grass that could come into contact with hot engines and other components.

Although no large wildfires have yet occurred in Hillsborough County, it’s important to stay in the know. Residents and visitors should register for HCFL Alert, Hillsborough County’s official public notification system for emergency and urgent alerts. To receive messages by email, phone, and text, go to HCFLGov.net/HCFLAlert.

For more information and valuable links, go to HCFLGov.net/StaySafe.
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Hillsborough County adopts resolution to create PACE program

Hillsborough County Commissioners adopted a resolution creating a Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) Program within the unincorporated areas of the county to allow residential, commercial and industrial property owners to voluntarily use PACE financing to fund energy conservation and efficiency improvements, renewable energy improvements, and wind resistance improvements.

 

Unlike traditional loans, the obligation to repay a PACE loan is handled through a lien on the property being improved. Payments are handled through a non-ad valorem assessment on the annual property tax bill, and the obligation to repay the loan passes to the new owners when the property is sold. Also unlike traditional loans, the borrower’s credit rating is not a factor in qualifying for a PACE loan, nor does a PACE loan itself impact the borrower’s credit rating. Instead, Florida statute defines the requirements a borrower must meet to qualify for a PACE loan.

 

“This will be a great program for residents and businesses that want to improve their clean energy footprint in Hillsborough County,” said Commissioner Sandy Murman. “With hurricane season around the corner, improving the strength of our homes and businesses can now be more affordable through this program.”

 

Some of the benefits of PACE include:

 

  • No up-front cash needs to be provided.
  • Allows for longer term repayment tied to projected life of an improvement.
  • Eligibility requirements for PACE financing may allow property owners not able to qualify for other types of financing to obtain funds for qualified improvements, potentially resulting in a net savings to the owner.
  • A PACE lien does not impact the property owner’s credit rating.
  • The obligation to repay a PACE loan lies with the property, not the borrower, and may pass to the new owner if the property is sold.
  • Repayment of debt is more likely as the PACE assessment appears as a non-ad valorem assessment on the annual property tax bill. If the tax bill is not paid, the assessment will be part of the balance due collected through the tax certificate sale process.
  • Borrowers choose from contractors vetted by the PACE program provider.
  • Easier for the borrower as the PACE program organizes all information and requirements for borrowers.
  • No payment is made to the contractor until the property owner is satisfied that the improvements were properly installed. However, most residential property owners may lack the knowledge to identify potential problems.  Requiring contractors to obtain necessary permits, with associated inspections for compliance to code, helps mitigate this issue.

For more information on the PACE programs currently available to you in Hillsborough County, you may contact any of the three qualified PACE providers:

Florida Green Finance Authority – 3rd party administrator – Renew Financial – Contact: 813-230-7704 dnirmul@renewfinancial.com

Florida PACE Funding Agency – 3rd party administrator – Counterpointe Energy Solutions – Contact: 561-409-0343  cj@counterpointees.com

Florida Resiliency and Energy District – 3rd party administrator – Renovate America – Contact: 850-378-6714  jthomas@renovateamerica.com

 

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Commissioner Murman named in Tampa Bay Business Journal’s ‘Power 100’

Commissioner Sandy Murman

Commissioner Sandy Murman

 

Sandra Murman has emerged as a leading voice on transportation in the region. Since Murman has been a commissioner, two tax initiatives failed. As a Republican, Murman’s reluctance to support tax hikes wasn’t surprising, but her immediate commitment to finding alternative funding sources, boosting trust in government and then revisiting a referendum later was a step away from her party’s transit stigma. Murman proposed using property tax revenue to fund more than $700 million in improvements over the next decade.

As a veteran county commissioner and a former state representative who served as Florida’s first female Speaker Pro-Tempore, Murman wields significant political muscle to garner support for long-neglected transportation and transit woes.

 

– Janelle Irwin, TBBJ

 

 

 

 

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A great big THANK YOU to these local leaders for joining me and State Rep. Janet Cruz for “Heroes Day at the Holiday Tent” to benefit Metropolitan Ministries:

 

County Administrator Mike Merrill, Tampa City Councilwoman Yolie Capin, County Public Defender  Julianne Holt, County Clerk Pat Frank, Tampa City Councilman Guido Maniscalco, Tampa City Councilman Harry Cohen, County Commissioner Victor Crist, County Supervisor of Elections Craig Latimer, Tampa City Councilman Frank Reddick, County Property Appraiser Bob Henriquez, State Rep. Ross Spano, and State Rep. Sean Shaw.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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WorkInTheFLOW Evening of Entrepreneurship

 

There is a free networking event (http://bit.ly/2cMEegq) coming up on the evening of November 2nd, for the benefit of entrepreneurial minded individuals in Hillsborough County and Tampa Bay Area.

 

Organized by WorkInTheFLOW.com, the entrepreneurial support system, with the help of Hillsborough County Public Library Cooperative providing the facilities, you are cordially invited to a free 90-minute thoughtfully crafted enriched-networking event over coffee, and snacks (or maybe even dessert) in the Hive makerspace of downtown Tampa’s John F. Germany Library starting at 6:30 pm. on November 2nd.

 

The evening will include an enlightening live video-streamed keynote and conversation with a Silicon Valley leader, to inspire more entrepreneurship in Tampa Bay, Florida.  The keynote speaker is Raj Jaswa, a Silicon Valley serial entrepreneur. Mr. Jaswa led 2 of his earlier companies from startup to IPO. He teaches entrepreneurship globally through the Northeastern University. The evening of networking will feature a 20-minute conversation with Mr. Jaswa about whether great entrepreneurs are born or can be made, followed by audience questions. The moderator of the session will be Ramesh Sambasivan, community leader, volunteer, and principal designer at social venture SiliconGlades which helps organizations weave social impact into their business processes so that their brands get on the path to becoming a legacy.

 

Even though the event is free,  Registration is required for the networking event. Event details and registration at http://bit.ly/2cMEegq.

 

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Commissioner Murman to Welcome Delegates

to TiEcon Florida 2016

 

a 14-hour Entrepreneurial Extravaganza on October 15th

 

TiE Tampa Bay, the volunteer-led non-profit with a singular focus on wealth-creation through fostering entrepreneurship, invites you to enjoy TiEcon Florida Conference (TiEconFL.com), a grand annual celebration of entrepreneurship on Saturday, Oct. 15, 2016, in Tampa at the Grand Floridian Ballroom of Embassy Suites at USF in Tampa. We are delighted that Commissioner Sandra Murman will be able to join us to welcome the delegates to the conference.  The high-octane 14-hour celebratory conference features several distinguished entrepreneurs and investors from Silicon Valley, New York and various cities in Florida. The evening cocktail hour, award ceremony, banquet-dinner and C Studios’ Bollywood dance performances promise a grand finale. Besides inspirational keynotes and highly informative panel discussions, TiEcon Florida also features a special segment called ‘Present Your Startup’ where 10 finalists who are Florida startups vie for recognition on TiE’s global platform. TiE Tampa Bay is one of 61 chapters across 18 countries with 13,000 members, including over 2,500 charter members all over the world, and TiE Tampa Bay is able to leverage this global network for the benefit of startup entrepreneurs and investors in Tampa Bay. Registrations close on October 11th at TiEconFL.com

 

 

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Dear Fellow Floridians:

October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month and while it is my hope that no one is ever involved in an abusive relationship, the fact is that unfortunately it does happen in our state. Domestic violence is an issue that we must talk about — within our households, within our communities, within our state.

Studies have shown finances play a significant role in abusive relationships. Finances can be manipulated by an abuser to trick a survivor into staying, and a lack of financial stability can prevent a survivor from leaving. That is a fact I want to help change. It takes an unbelievable amount of courage to walk away from an abusive relationship, and I want to help ensure that survivors have the tools available to be financially successful when they do.

In an overwhelming number of abusive relationships, survivors list financial concerns as one of their top reasons for staying in or returning to an abusive relationship. In fact, that number is 98 percent, and it’s a painful statistic to hear. I feel firmly that everyone should hold the keys to their own financial future, and, by empowering survivors to gain financial independence, we hope to help end financial abuse.

That’s why my office expanded our financial literacy programs to include materials tailored to meeting the needs of domestic abuse survivors. We created the program in concert with experts in the field, and our Your L.I.F.E program, which stands for “Learn Individual Financial Empowerment,” teaches survivors about banking and budgeting, saving and spending, etc. Each chapter of our program covers the educational tools needed to claim financial stability and to provide for a better financial future.

Our program has been available for one year and while we’re working with partners across the state to get this critical information into the hands of every individual who needs it, I hope you’ll share it if you have a friend or loved one who may be in need of it. The materials are completely free, and they can be accessed through our Your Money Matter$ website, which houses all of our financial literacy programs.

If you are personally in need or if you wish to help someone you care about leave an abusive relationship, we can help. To create a safety plan with a domestic violence advocate, please call Florida’s Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-500-1119.

Bottom line is: if you see something, say something. It is only through education and awareness that we can work toward ending domestic violence in Florida.

Sincerely,

Jeff Atwater, CFO, State of Florida

 

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Hillsborough Grants Collaborative 2016 Grants Conference
Grant Writing: Successful Practices for Competitive Proposals

 

The Hillsborough County Grants Collaborative brings you a day of targeted training from experts in the grant writing field. This workshop is designed for persons with limited or no grant writing experience.

Pre-registration is required.

Where to Register:
http://www.nonprofitleadershipcenter.com/event/GrantsCollaborative2016

When: November 10, 2016
Time: 8:30 Registration
9:00 am-3:00 pmConference
Where: Museum of Science and Industry (MOSI) in the Welcome Center
4801 E. Fowler Ave. Tampa, Florida 33617

 

Topics include:
 Where to Find Grants – On-line Search Options, Reading 990s ***Note to bring your laptop for this session***
 Being Grant Ready: Fiscal status of organization, revenues to sustain programs beside grants, understanding the grants, etc.
 Building a Need Statement
 Basics of Grant Writing

Cost: $40 includes attendance fees, materials and lunch!
Please note: Refunds are not available for conference registration. Please bring your registration confirmation.
Registration limited to 60 participants. Pre-registration is required.

Questions? Contact: Alexandra Furnari furnariconsulting@yahoo.com

 

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Get the facts about Mosquito Control in Hillsborough County:

 

 

Click for: Mosquito fact Sheet

Click for: FL Dept of Health Zika Information

Click for: Hillsborough County Mosquito Resources

 

 

 

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Join Commissioner Sandy Murman for a special

Lunch and Learn opportunity on August 25

Click on this link to a PDF of the Brochure: TDI Lunch and Learn brochure   Print out a copy and Register today! Register online at http://tdi-lunch-and-learn.eventbrite.com  or FAX registration to 813-443-0728.

TDI Lunch Learn Diversity Inclusion brochure_Page_1

TDI Lunch Learn Diversity Inclusion brochure_Page_1

 

TDI Lunch Learn Diversity Inclusion brochure_Page_2

TDI Lunch Learn Diversity Inclusion brochure_Page_2

Blue Ribbon Commission for Child Safety membership approved

The Hillsborough County BOCC approved membership for the Blue Ribbon Commission for Child Safety in Hillsborough County (BRCCS-HC), that Commissioner Sandy Murman created last year to develop a Community-wide Business Model with respect to how the county provides services to Children-In-Need .  It approved the recommended representative group of stakeholders that will be participating on the Commission and approved the scope of services the Commission will be asked to complete.  There is no financial impact for this immediate action. At the May 18, 2016 BOCC Meeting, the Board received the performance audit (report number 15-04) of the Children’s Services Division. The audit work was performed by the contract firm CliftonLarsonAllen, LLP for the County Internal Audit Department. As stated in the County Administrator’s Management Response, many of the observations outlined in the audit, staff have already taken or plan to take corrective steps to improve processes and services. However, on a broader scale as it relates to the community-wide nature of the services provided to children-in-need, decisions need to be made with respect to service outcomes, who provides the services and how the services are funded should be a community-wide endeavor. Once this is done the County can then decide how to optimize our resources and better rationalize the utilization of the Lake Magdalene campus. County leadership is committed to continuous improvement of the welfare of children throughout the County. To that end, the County Administrator discussed with Commissioner Sandy Murman about utilizing the expertise of the Blue Ribbon Commission for Child Safety in Hillsborough County, formed more than a year ago to help shape a county-wide business model for our children. The Blue Ribbon Commission for Child Safety in Hillsborough County was convened to initiate the discussion regarding the general welfare and care of children in Hillsborough County and to explore how predictive analytics can be used to catch problems sooner to improve the overall state of care for children-in-need.

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Local leaders tout value of investment in manufacturing jobsBUSINESS NEWS

TAMPA — Local politicians and school officials got a close look Thursday at Hillsborough County’s efforts to train students for careers in manufacturing. The official launch of the Manufacturing Alliance of Hillsborough took place at Tampa Bay Tech High School, one of three high schools that received money last year for new welding equipment. The county commission has appropriated more than $1.3 million over the past two years to furnish industrial equipment for local high schools. School board Chairwoman April Griffin, who donned a welding simulator helmet Thursday to see first-hand how students are learning, said the alliance is in line with the school system’s mission of “preparing students for life.” “We are preparing them for the workforce,” Griffin said. “That’s my goal.”

The alliance’s stated mission is to raise awareness of career opportunities in manufacturing, an industry sector that has traditionally paid higher-than-average wages. It grew out of a 2013 study that showed the Tampa Bay area had a “skills gap” when it came to technical knowhow needed in 21st century manufacturing. The gap was due largely to a lack of interest in blue-collar, industrial careers among students and their parents. Hillsborough County’s economy was still suffering lingering effects of the Great Recession so commissioners appropriated $1 million for a manufacturing academy to boost industrial careers. The academy was not a place, but a host of programs at different schools aimed at students who were not college bound. Since then, the alliance has provided nearly $300,000 worth of machining and welding equipment for students at Brewster Technical College, Tampa Bay Tech, Hillsborough, Jefferson and Armwood high schools. “We collectively said we’re going to do something to create jobs,” county Commissioner Sandy Murman said at Thursday’s event. “We’re not just going to talk about it.”

One of the beneficiaries of the initiative is 18-year-old Wyndell Harris of Temple Terrace. Harris said his mother suggested he enroll in the welding program at Tampa Bay Tech and now he’s glad she did. “When I first got here, I didn’t really know what it was,” Harris said. “My teachers told me about it, got me interested in it so I really like it now. It’s something I feel I’m real good at. I can excel at it.” Roy Sweatman, president of Southern Manufacturing Technologies, said he has two key employees who graduated from the machinist program in its early days at Tampa Bay Tech 25 years ago. That program was eliminated due to lack of interest. Now, however, Sweatman thinks manufacturing is on the upswing, as indicated by the public investments made by Hillsborough County government. “That’s going to be helpful to get kids interested and find mechanics and kids who like to work with their hands and that will be good employees for us,” Sweatman said. “There are great careers in manufacturing around the country. A welder skilled in computer numerical control, he said, “can get a job anywhere.” The manufacturing alliance is a partnership of Hillsborough Community College, county government, Hillsborough public schools and CareerSource Tampa Bay.

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Coffee with the Commissioner

Coffee with the Commissioner

Commissioner Sandy Murman Hosts Morning Coffee on Friday, April 1st

Tampa, Fla. (March 23, 2016) – Hillsborough County Commissioner Sandra L. Murman, District 1, will host a casual “Coffee with the Commissioner” meet and greet event at the McDonald’s restaurant on U.S. Highway 41 in Ruskin from 9:00 a.m. to 10:00 a.m. on Friday, April 1st. Commissioner Murman and her staff welcome this opportunity to meet residents and to discuss their thoughts and concerns on various projects and community issues taking place in Hillsborough County. The upcoming coffee is: Friday, April 1st 9:00 a.m. – 10:00 a.m. McDonald’s Restaurant 5001 Tamiami Trail Ruskin, FL 33570 To learn more about Hillsborough County Commissioner Sandra L. Murman, visit her web page located on the County’s website.

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    Commissioner Murman mentioned in this on411.com article:

Sandy Murman

Sandy Murman

Local Junior Achievement Volunteers Earn Nonprofit’s Top Volunteer Awards; Judy Genshaft, Sandy Murman, Liz Smith among the Tampa Bay Businesspeople Receiving Junior Achievement’s Elite Award

Judy Genshaft, Sandy Murman, Liz Smith among the Tampa Bay Businesspeople Receiving Junior Achievement’s Elite Award  Tampa Bay, FL – Junior Achievement of Tampa Bay announced the following community leaders have been selected from more than 213,000 U.S. volunteers to earn the organization’s premier award for volunteerism. Honored with the Bronze Leadership Award are: Brian Adamski, Chief Financial Officer of American Traditions Insurance Company; Michael Attinella, Chief Financial Officer of HSN; Liz Smith, Chief Executive Officer of Bloomin’ Brands; Jose Valiente, Owner of Jose E. Valiente, CPA Consulting and Betsy Whitaker, President of ASSET Management, Inc. Receiving the Silver Leadership Award is Sandra Murman, Hillsborough County Commissioner. Honored as 2016 Legacy Award Recipients are: GTE Financial, Tampa Bay Lightning and Wells Fargo. Receiving the Spirit of Achievement Award is Judy Genshaft, President of University of South Florida and receiving the Outstanding JA Alumnus Award is Sandy Murman, Hillsborough County Commissioner. “These leaders and partners are a wonderful example of how one person can make such a huge difference in the lives of young people in our community,” said Richard George, president of Junior Achievement of Tampa Bay. “The local business community has been extremely supportive of Junior Achievement’s goal of inspiring local students to succeed in the global economy,” said Richard George. “And these honorees are a remarkable example of that spirit of generosity. In a very real way, they help Tampa Bay’s JA students develop financial literacy, entrepreneurship and work-readiness skills, contribute to the community and participate in the revitalization of the economy.” The purpose of the Bronze and Silver Leadership Awards is to recognize JA volunteers who have performed outstanding service to Junior Achievement. JA volunteers play a key role in bringing Junior Achievement’s entrepreneurship, financial literacy, and work-readiness programs to life. By sharing their personal and professional experiences and skills with students, volunteers provide positive role models and help students make the connection between whey they learn in school and life after graduation. Receiving the Spirit of Achievement Award for 2016 is Judy Genshaft, President of the University of South Florida. Judy began her JA career in 2004 serving on the Capital Campaign of JA BizTown.  She was awarded the National Bronze Leadership Award in 2013, the Silver in 2015.  Under Judy’s leadership, USF has developed into one of the top Junior Achievement volunteer providers with 245 volunteers. Receiving the 2016 Alumnus of the Year award is Sandy Murman, Hillsborough County Commissioner, District 1. Sandy is a dedicated Junior Achievement Regional Board member since 2011, and a proud JA alumna from Indiana. Sandy is dedicated to supporting the community and enhancing the lives of children. In addition to the individual Leadership Award winners, Junior Achievement of Tampa Bay will also honor three new Legacy Partners. The JA Legacy Partner Award recognizes outstanding JA Tampa Bay, Inc. supporters who have been committed to providing financial and volunteer resources and continually support the ongoing success of Junior Achievement. These awards will be presented to GTE Financial, Tampa Bay Lightning and Wells Fargo.   These outstanding volunteers will be recognized at the annual Junior Achievement Hall of Fame, presented by Outback Steakhouse and GTE Financial, is on March 3, 2016 at Busch Gardens® Tampa Bay at their Dragon Fire™Grill. For information on how you can get involved and become a Junior Achievement partner, please visit our website JATampabay.org.

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  Commissioner Sandy Murman’s column on transportation appeared in the Tampa Tribune:   TAMPA TRIBUNE COMMENTARY

Sandra L. Murman: An alternative approach to funding transportation needs in Hillsborough County

  Published: February 9, 2016 Our community must find funding solutions for our critical transportation needs. The Hillsborough County Commission will soon decide which of the many funding options to pursue to do this. As part of this process, we must also adopt a specific transportation plan. I believe this must be a forward-looking transportation plan that will be valued by our children and grandchildren. I am pleased that Hillsborough County and its cities have been engaged in a two-year process to get us to this point. However, I believe too much emphasis has been placed on a 30-year, half-cent sales tax referendum at the exclusion of other viable options. I also am concerned that our “plan” is only a list of projects that look more to fix the past instead of building for the future. I am in favor of an alternative approach that will give our community a significant transportation “win” and provide a substantial increase of transportation funding for Hillsborough County roads. The county commission can achieve this by adopting three specific measures this year that would raise at least $72 million annually, none of which require voter approval of a general tax on themselves. First, I support prioritizing our existing budgets to fund new transportation investments. This should be the first measure we take before adopting any new fees or taxes. I support creating a transportation trust fund by allocating a percentage of all new property and sales tax revenue each year to fund transportation road work and maintenance. Pasco County has done this, setting aside a portion of new property tax revenues for transportation projects. This same approach applied in Hillsborough County to new property and sales tax revenues could generate more than $25 million this year, an amount that would grow our recurring base funding each year as our tax base grows. This approach would not take away from any existing programs. I also support two separate user fees — development fees, commonly referred to as mobility fees, and gas taxes — to help pay for transportation investments. Today, development fees cover less than 10 percent of the costs of new transportation infrastructure required by new growth. While I encourage and support new growth, and appreciate the jobs and tax revenues it generates, I know that it also impacts our transportation infrastructure. Hillsborough needs to levy new development fees so that new growth pays its fair share of such costs. These fees need to be done smartly, so they do not hinder economic development, but still generate the revenue we need to help cover the cost of new transportation capacity. We also should implement smart growth policies that encourage infill development and discourage sprawl. Reasonable development fees would likely generate more than $20 million or more each year at current growth rates. I also support adopting a 5-cent local option gas tax as a fair and appropriate way to help fund transportation. Our nation has used gas taxes over the past 70 years to construct one of the finest transportation systems in the world. This investment has fueled much of our national prosperity. In Florida, every coastal county, from Palm Beach to Pasco, with the exception of Hillsborough and Pinellas, has adopted local option gas taxes to help meet their local transportation needs. We need to do the same. As a user fee, this would raise close to $27 million each year. In advocating for this three-pronged approach, I am heartened that business leaders, transportation experts, tea party and Sierra Club leaders have all voiced support for this broad-based and more certain funding approach. In fact, I find it remarkable that there is so much consensus about pursuing these options. Still, I know that the revenues from these measures, though historic and robust, cannot fully address our existing transportation deficiencies nor build the 21st century transportation system that people desperately want and that is essential for a dynamic and growing county. So I do understand the policy case for a sales tax referendum. But I believe we need to direct any new, long-term resources to such major emerging mobility options as regional commuter rail using the CSX lines, use of dedicated lanes for transit on our county roads and the interstate, other bus rapid transit corridors, and a regional ferry system on our waterways. We also need to understand how emerging technologies like Uber and Lyft delivery systems and driverless cars factor into our future, while providing our citizens with a plan that delivers real transportation solutions to their neighborhoods and gives them a feeling that government listens to their wants and needs. These alternatives have the potential to provide powerful mobility options that can tie our region together, spur economic development and quality jobs and provide big lifestyle dividends for everyone. We need to invest the appropriate time and resources in developing a comprehensive, forward-looking mobility plan that evaluates these options and includes those determined to be feasible and beneficial as part of a foundation for a future transportation referendum. This will take more time and work, require regional cooperation, and build on the work we have done. I encourage the community and my colleagues to carefully consider these and other funding sources. I want us to secure a major and historic transportation “win” that we need and deserve. I look forward to hearing more from the public about these options and approach, and to working with my colleagues to frame a better future for our community. Sandra L. Murman represents District 1 on the Hillsborough County Commission.

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Community message on Zika virus

Please help us distribute the following information to your community contacts: We are asking for your assistance as community leaders to help get the following information to Hillsborough County residents.   Hillsborough County is one of several locations in Florida where individuals have been identified with the Zika virus.  All of those infected acquired the illness while traveling internationally.  At this time there are no cases of locally acquired Zika reported in Florida, and we have no reason to believe our local mosquito population is carrying the virus. Hillsborough County Mosquito Control operates in coordination with the Florida Department of Health to implement policies and procedures to prevent and control the spread of mosquito-borne illnesses.   Avoiding mosquito bites is the best prevention against Zika. Mosquito Control sprays insecticides to kill  mosquitoes, but we always need the public’s help to remove breeding habitats in residential areas.   Here’s how you can help:

  • Drain: water from garbage cans, gutters, pool covers, coolers, toys, flower pots, or any other containers where water has collected.
  • Discard: Old tires, drums, bottles, cans, pots and pans, broken appliances, and other items that aren’t being used.
  • Empty and Clean: Birdbaths and pets’ water bowls at least once or twice a week.
  • Protect: Boats and vehicles from rain with tarps that don’t accumulate water.
  • Maintain: The water balance (pool chemistry) of swimming pools. Empty plastic swimming pools when not in use. Repair broken screens on windows, doors, porches, and patios.
  • Clothing: Cover up – always wear socks and shoes, long pants, and long-sleeved sleeves.
  • Repellent: Apply mosquito repellent to bare skin and clothing. Always use repellents according to the label.
  • Travelers returning from international locations are cautioned to wear mosquito repellent for two weeks after they return home.

For information on the Zika virus & mosquito bite prevention: www.floridahealth.gov/diseases-and-conditions/zika-virus/index.html.   For tips to help eliminate backyard mosquito breeding sites: www.HillsboroughCounty.org/MosquitoNinja.   Or call Commissioner Murman’s office at 813-272-5470.

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RESOLUTION NO:  2015 – __

  A RESOLUTION OF THE BOARD OF COUNTY COMMISSIONERS IN SUPPORT OF SB 1322 AND HB 1279 AS CURRENTLY WRITTEN, OR SIMILAR LANGUAGE THAT MAY BE OFFERD, ESTABLISHING A JUVENILE PREADJUDICATORY DETENTION COST SHARING PROCESS THAT IS EQUITABLE AND VERIFYABLE   Upon motion by Commissioner ______, seconded by Commissioner _____, the following resolution was adopted by an ___ to ___ vote on January 21, 2015.   WHEREAS, since 2004, the state of Florida has required all non-fiscally constrained counties to pay for the cost of juvenile preadjudicatory detention in “partnership” with the Florida Department of Juvenile Justice; and WHEREAS, Hillsborough County was the first non-fiscally constrained county to alert the state to billing inaccuracies by the Department of Juvenile Justice as required by statute; and WHEREAS, since 2004, Hillsborough County has historically been overbilled by the Department of Juvenile Justice; and WHEREAS, in a state administrative hearing the Department of Juvenile Justice admitted that Hillsborough County had been overbilled, and WHEREAS, the Department of Juvenile Justice’s billing practice was found by the court to be in violation of state law; and WHEREAS, the Department of Juvenile Justice has previously stipulated to owing Hillsborough County $9,628,978 for state fiscal years 09-10, 10-11, and 11-12 and estimated that it owed $4,140,876.05 for state fiscal year 12-13; and WHEREAS, the Department of Juvenile Justice has subsequently signed a final order that acknowledges owing Hillsborough County $6,736,525 for state fiscal years 09-10, 10-11, and 11-12; and WHEREAS, Hillsborough County and other counties have numerous times sought administrative and legislative remedies that would ensure a fair billing process that bills Hillsborough County and others based on verifiable data; and WHEREAS, such attempts have been rejected by the state and the Department of Juvenile Justice; and WHEREAS, in the 2016 state legislative session, Senate Bill 1322, by Senator Jack Latvala, and House Bill 1279, by Representative Chris Latvala, have been filed seeking a 50/50 cost share, with counties paying its proportionate share of actual costs on a monthly basis. NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED by the Hillsborough County Board of County Commissioners of Hillsborough County, Florida, in a regular meeting duly assembled, that the Board hereby offers its support of SB 1322 and HB 1279, as currently written, or similar language that may be offered during the 2016 state legislative session, and commends Senator Latvala and Representative Latvala for their efforts to establish a cost sharing process that is equitable and verifiable.             DONE AND RESOLVED this 21st day of January, 2016.

*****

 Jobs! Jobs! Jobs!

The Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater region recently claimed the state’s top spot for job creation, according to the latest state employment data, with a gain of 40,500 positions year-over-year since November 2014. The job gain represents a 3.3 percent increase and brings the metro area unemployment rate down by 1.1 percentage points over the year to 4.6 percent.

 

The region also leads the state in job openings; boasting more than 52,000 advertised jobs in the area and is first in the state in demand for high-wage, high-skill science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) occupations, with 15,005 openings.

 

*****

 

RESOLUTION NO.  R15-____

A RESOLUTION OF THE HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY BOARD OF COUNTY COMMISSIONERS EXPRESSING ITS SUPPORT OF PEDESTRIAN AND BICYCLE SAFETY EDUCATION MEASURES AND EFFORTS TO REDUCE PEDESTRIAN FATALITIES AND SERIOUS INJURIES IN HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY BY STUDYING THE VISION ZERO MODEL PROPOSED BY WALK BIKE TAMPA, THE CITY OF TAMPA, THE HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY SCHOOL DISTRICT, THE FLORIDA DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION AND THE METROPOLITAN PLANNING ORGANIZATION; PROVIDING AN EFFECTIVE DATE   Upon a motion by Commissioner Murman, seconded by Commissioner Beckner, the following Resolution was adopted by a vote of 6 to 0, with no Commissioner(s) voting “No” and Commissioner Higginbotham being absent.   WHEREAS, Hillsborough County has experienced an unprecedented number of pedestrian and bicyclists fatalities in 2015; and WHEREAS, the life and health of Hillsborough County’s residents are our utmost priority; and WHEREAS, children, the elderly, the minority population, and people in low-income communities face a disproportionate risk of traffic injuries and fatalities; and WHEREAS, Hillsborough County recognizes that no one should die or be seriously injured while travelling on our County roadways; and WHEREAS, Vision Zero aims to achieve zero fatalities and zero serious injuries in the roadway and has successfully reduced fatalities and serious injuries in cities where it has been implemented; and WHEREAS, Vision Zero or similar initiatives have been adopted by multiple U.S. cities including, Austin, Boston, New York, San Francisco, Chicago, Miami, Los Angeles, Portland, Seattle, Santa Barbara, San Mateo, and the City of Fort Lauderdale as well as several European countries; and WHEREAS, the Board of County Commissioners believes that educating the public about pedestrian and bicycle safety and everyone’s collective responsibility will help reduce fatalities and serious injuries; and WHEREAS, the Board of County Commissioners desires to support the efforts of  the Florida Department of Transportation, City of Tampa, the Hillsborough County School Board, the Metropolitan Planning Organization, and Walk Bike Tampa and the promotion of pedestrian and bicycle safety in Tampa and Hillsborough County through additional education and the study of the Vision Zero model. NOW THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED BY THE BOARD OF COUNTY COMMISSIONERS OF HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY, FLORIDA, THAT: Section 1.        The Board of County Commissioners adopts the goal of Vision Zero – that no loss of life is acceptable on our County roadways. Section 2.        The Board of County Commissioners expresses its support of the efforts of the Florida Department of Transportation, City of Tampa, the Hillsborough County School Board, the Metropolitan Planning Organization, and Walk Bike Tampa and the promotion of pedestrian and bicycle safety in Tampa and Hillsborough County through additional education and the study of the Vision Zero model. Section 3.        This Resolution shall be effective immediately upon its adoption.   STATE OF FLORIDA COUNTY OF HILLSBOROUGH I, Pat Frank, Clerk of the Circuit Court and Ex-Officio Clerk of the Board of County Commissioners of Hillsborough County, Florida, do hereby certify that the above and foregoing is a true and correct copy of a Resolution adopted by the Board at its       regular      meeting of _____________, 2015 as the same appears of record in Minute Book _____ Page____ of the Public Records of Hillsborough County, Florida. WITNESS my hand and official seal this ________ day of __________, 2015. PAT FRANK CLERK OF THE CIRCUIT COURT By:_____________________________________ Deputy Clerk Approved as to form and legal sufficiency ______________________________ Marva Taylor Senior Assistant County Attorney

***

Commissioner Murman offers more ideas in Transportation Plan

After listening to citizens over the past few months, Commissioner Sandy Murman put together some ideas for alternative funding sources to address the county’s immediate transportation needs. While some have been focused on a sales tax referendum next year, she feels we need to find funding to fix roads and install traffic signals sooner than later. Click on this link to read the plan, and decide for yourself: More ideas to fund transportation

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Commissioner Sandy Murman Hosts Morning Coffee on Thursday, Sept. 3rd

Coffee with the Commissioner

Coffee with the Commissioner

    Hillsborough County Commissioner Sandra L. Murman, District 1, and her staff welcome this opportunity to meet residents, have coffee, and discuss their thoughts and concerns on various projects and community issues taking place in Hillsborough County.   The upcoming coffee is:   Thursday, September 3rd 8:30 a.m. – 9:30 a.m. DI Coffee Bar 214 E. Davis Blvd. Tampa, FL 33606   To learn more about Hillsborough County Commissioner Sandra L. Murman, visit her web page located on the County’s website.   XXX

Commissioner Sandy Murman Urges Hillsborough County to Prepare for Tropical Storm Erika

Hillsborough County is carefully monitoring the progress of Tropical Storm Erika, and working closely with the National Hurricane Center, National Weather Service-Ruskin, the State Emergency Response Team, and other regional/local partners to share information as it becomes available and coordinate as necessary. At this time, the emergency operations center is not open. No evacuation orders are currently in place.   There is a great deal of uncertainty regarding this system. It is critical that residents carefully monitor news broadcasts and get the latest information from Hillsborough County Emergency Management regarding protective actions. The greatest threat posed by Tropical Storm Erika are heavy rains and the potential for tropical storm force winds in excess of 34 miles per hour.   “I am very concerned for the safety of our citizens in Hillsborough County,” said Commissioner Sandy Murman. “I urge everyone to get ready ahead of the storm. We should all be prepared to deal with it should it come into our area,” she added.   At 8 a.m. this morning, the Governor signed an Executive Order for TS Erika; which gives additional authority and resources to assist in protective actions and planning response efforts. This allows the state and counties to work closely to respond to the threat posed by the storm.   Residents are reminded to check and update their survival plans to ensure they address the needs of all family members.  Remember, we are only approaching the midpoint of the Atlantic Hurricane Season. September is the busiest month, October is the month when we are most concerned about landfalling storms on Florida’s west coast and the season runs through November 30.   For more information on the developments for Tropical Storm Erika, visit http://www.hillsboroughcounty.org/StaySafe

 *****

  Commissioner Murman quoted in this Elevate Tampa blog entry on Jamie Meloni’s radio show:

Lets Talk Tampa with County Commissioner, Sandy Murman

 

Tampa listeners were able to get an inside view of the Tampa community buzz. Jamie Meloni, radio host of “That Business Show,” welcomed County Commissioner, Sandy Murman, onto the show to talk about what is happening in the Tampa Bay community. Listeners had the opportunity to listen to Murman talk about the summer flooding that’s been happening, and the commissioners’ plans for economic development and transportation.

Murman began the segment saying, ”this flooding is a 100 year event with over 20 inches of rain in such a short period of time.” She explained how everyone is working overtime to assist citizens who are suffering from all of this rain. Later offering her phone number, 813-272-5470, for anyone to call if they have flooding concerns and her office will direct them to services that will be able to help. As always, Murman reminded listeners to stay safe with standing water because a lot of the water is full of bacteria being brought up from full sewer systems. She advised citizens not to walk in or drive through water.

For the second half of the segment, Sandy Murman spoke about the economic development that citizens of Tampa can expect to see in the near future. She said that, “transportation and economic development go hand and hand and that we want our community to be #1.” Tampa is excited to see what Jeff Vinik has planned for the Port and the commissioners are working to help develop the area around the University of South Florida, Moffit, and Busch Gardens. The goal is to develop these areas and bring 90,000 jobs to citizens. Part of the development plan is to improve the city’s transit system. The commissioners have been talking to citizens and will be having eighty more meetings in the community to hear how residents hope we can bring better transportation and development to the area.

If you’re a business owner or just someone looking to get involved and have a voice in the community, Murman suggests joining the Tampa Innovation Alliance. You can visit their website at http://tampainnovation.com.

To watch Jamie and Sandy Murman’s conversation, visit https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j35TnuhXVvo. Follow Sandy Murman on Twitter @SandyMurman to see all the ways Tampa is changing.

As always, remember to tune in to That Business Show with Jamie Meloni, weekday mornings from 8-9am on 1250 AM.

***

Join Sandy Murman & Quinton Aaron, star of the Blind Side

for an Anti-Bullying Town Hall Meeting on August 13th

Teach One, SAVE One.

Join Commissioner Sandra L. Murman and Quinton Aaron,

star of The Blind Side, for a real talk on bullying in our community.

In conjunction with Hillsborough County Public Schools Anti-bullying Town Hall Meeting August 13, 2015 6:30PM Blake High School Auditorium 1701 North Blvd, Tampa, FL 33607

  For more information: hillsboroughcounty.org/bullyfree For information on the Quinton Aaron Foundation visit: quintonaaron.org   Sandra L. Murman Chairman, County Commission, District 1 Hillsborough County BOCC p: 813-272-5470 | f: 813-272-7046 w: http://www.hillsboroughcounty.org   Please note: all correspondence to or from this office is subject to Florida’s Public Records laws.

Commissioner Sandy Murman Hosts Morning Coffee in South Tampa on Thursday, May 7th

 

Coffee with the Commissioner
Coffee with the Commissioner

Hillsborough County Commissioner Sandra L. Murman, District 1, and her staff welcome this opportunity to meet residents, have coffee, and discuss their thoughts and concerns on various projects and community issues taking place in Hillsborough County.   The upcoming coffee is:   Thursday, May 7th 8:30 a.m. – 9:30 a.m. McDonald’s Restaurant 1905 N. Dale Mabry Highway Tampa, FL 33607   To learn more about Hillsborough County Commissioner Sandra L. Murman, visit her web page located on the County’s website.   XXX

Help children find ‘forever families’ during Child Adoption Education Day at Old McMicky’s Farm on June 13th

Child Adopt Day 4-21-15  Presented by: Old McMicky’s Farm . Eckerd Community Alternatives Hillsborough, Pinellas & Pasco . Camelot Community Care Hillsborough . Youth & Family Alternatives Pinellas . Directions for Living . County Foster & Adoptive Parents Hillsborough, Pinellas & Pasco . Family Tyes . Hope Builders . Adoptive Related Services Guardian Ad Litem Hillsborough, Pinellas & Pasco . Heart Gallery Hillsborough, Pinellas & Pasco . The Children’s Home   Help us find more families for Tampa Bay area children.   In one casual afternoon come learn how easy it is to adopt, all of the great support that is available both pre-and post adoption, and most importantly, all of the emotional rewards that are available to your family and to the children.   • Hear how the adoption process works and Get all of your questions answered in one place • Presentations by all of the key family service agencies in Tampa Bay, plus hear from adoptive parents and their adopted children   Come join us! This event is free. To learn more details and to register please go to: http://www.OldMcMickys.com/child-adoption-education-day/   ###

Commissioners ask County staff to work

with Sheriff to address complaints

 

The Board directed the County Attorney’s office and Code Enforcement to work with the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office, Nuisance Abatement Board and any other agencies that have jurisdiction to investigate complaints against Thee Crazy Horse bar in Town ‘n Country for possible code violations.

Also, the Board directed Development Services staff to review current code and zoning policies related to required distances between bars and residential neighborhoods, as well as to review other jurisdictional policies with regard to possible conditions or incentives for the closure of the business due to code violations or unlawful activities.

###

RECOMMENDATIONS FOR ENCOURAGING AND IMPROVING VETERAN PARTICIPATION

  Veteran-owned businesses play an important role in Hillsborough County’s economic growth and community prosperity. With more than 94,000 Veterans in this area, Hillsborough County has the fourth largest Veteran population in Florida. Hillsborough County Veterans Services assists an average of 30,000 clients each year through personal and telephone interviews, outreach, community presentations, in-home visits, and correspondence. In 2013, veterans and survivors in Hillsborough County received an estimated $323 million in federal benefits, placing it first in the state for economic impact.   In pursuit of creating community prosperity, the Procurement Services Department is focused on creating an environment that removes unnecessary barriers to participation by assisting small businesses in finding and doing business with Hillsborough County. When developing procurement policies and procedures, we are mindful of the unique needs and challenges facing small businesses, including disadvantaged minority, disadvantaged women, and veteran-owned businesses. In keeping with the BOCC’s objectives, the Procurement Services Department recommends the following with regard to SDVOBs and VOBs:   ▪ Establish a separate overall annual procurement spend goal of five percent (5%) for VOBs (including three percent (3%) for SDVOBs) that are located in the Tampa-St. Petersburg- Clearwater Metropolitan Statistical Area (Hillsborough, Pinellas, Pasco, and Hernando Counties) and responding as prime vendors.   ▪ Accept VOB certifications administered by the State of Florida and SDVOB certifications administered by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs’ Center for Verification and Evaluation (CVE).   ▪ Retain “tie-bid” provision for SDVOBs.   ▪ Reduce SDVOB ownership requirement to 51% for Hillsborough County SBE eligibility.   ▪ Recognition of applicable and relevant military experience for qualification-based selections.   ▪ Review bond, insurance, and other requirements to ensure they are reasonable, risk-appropriate, and not unnecessarily burdensome.   ▪ Work with the Economic Development Department, to explore the development of a local “Mentor- Protégé” Program for SDVOBs that is modeled after the “8(a) Business Development Program” that is administered by the Small Business Administration. The “8(a)” program is designed to enable successful firms to provide various forms of business development assistance to fledgling firms. Specifically, the goal of this program will be to enhance the capability of targeted firms by helping them become more competitive, achieve entrepreneurial success, and ultimately contribute to the local economy.   ▪ Review and streamline vendor interfaces with the Procurement Services Department and administered processes.   ▪ Compile, track, analyze, and report actual ongoing vendor participation. Survey vendors and analyze the results to determine perceptions, impediments to participation, and opportunities for   ▪ Work with the Economic Development Department (including the DM/DWBE Section and Entrepreneur Collaboration Center), Communications Department, and Library Services Department, to establish, implement, and promote an ongoing countywide outreach program to improve vendor registration and participation by all vendors, including DM/DWBEs, SDVOBs, and VOBs.   ▪ Develop and provide routine reports regarding vendor participation, outreach results, and overall state of the County’s relationship with vendors, especially DM/DWBEs, SDVOBs, and VOBs. ###

County to coordinate children’s services

planning meeting with community partners

The BOCC, at the request of Commissioner Murman, directed county staff to coordinate a children’s services planning meeting with community partners which provide critical Children’s Services within the county. The purpose of the meeting will set up a framework for a community-wide discussion concerning the future of children’s services in our community.

This group would embark on a community-wide discussion concerning our future as it relates to how we plan to collectively serve the children in our community that are in need. The planning group would consist of representatives from the following agencies:

Hillsborough County Children’s Services Department

Florida Department of Children and Families

Department of Juvenile Justice

Florida Thirteenth Judicial Circuit

Eckerd Community Alternatives Hillsborough County

Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office

Lutheran Services Florida

Children’s Board of Hillsborough County

Tampa Police Department

United Way Suncoast

Youth and Family Alternatives, Inc.

Upon development of this framework the County would coordinate a full-day facilitated strategic session to be held at the Collaborative Labs at St. Petersburg College in Clearwater, Florida. This designed  program would provide us with an opportunity to collectively identify issues, challenges and next steps which would allow for the development of a consolidated action plan. This process would accommodate up to 75 key participants which would be identified by the Planning Group.

     ###

Commission Chairman Sandy Murman announces

part of Westshore to be named Alfred S. Austin Boulevard

 

Read more by clicking on this link for the Westshore Alliance E-News:  Westshore E-News 2-12-15

****

Phone Scams Continue to be Serious Threat,

Remain on IRS “Dirty Dozen” List of Tax Scams for the 2015 Filing Season

Click here to read this important PDF document: IRS Press Release IRS Phone Scams

***

Business Journal’s 25 People to Watch in 2015:

Sandra Murman

Dec 12, 2014, 6:00am EST Updated: Dec 12, 2014, 10:43am EST

Commissioner Sandy Murman

Commissioner Sandy Murman

By Margie Manning Print Editor- Tampa Bay Business Journal

Sandra Murman

Chairman, Hillsborough County Board of County Commissioners

Landing a potential new stadium as home for the Tampa Bay Rays is one of several key economic development initiatives for Sandra Murman, who will chair the commission in 2015. “This is going to be a major year for us,” Murman said. “Obviously the Rays stadium in Hillsborough County is a huge economic initiative …. Also, transportation as it relates to economic development, to make sure we have the right growth patterns established for the county.” With hundreds of thousands more residents projected to move to Hillsborough County over the next two decades, creating the right transportation network for a live-work-play environment is crucial, she said. “We’re really trying to focus on customers’ needs and see what will be the best for all of us, so we can deliver a great transportation play that will boost economic development and hopefully lure the Rays or a major corporation here,” she said. (To see the full list of TBBJ’s 25 People to Watch in 2015 click this link: http://www.bizjournals.com/tampabay/feature/people-to-watch/2014/) ###

Commissioners approve agreement for Community Housing Solutions Center

The BOCC approved an agreement for Hillsborough County’s Community Housing Solutions Center to Drug Abuse Comprehensive Coordinating Office, Inc. (DACCO) in the amount of $3,199,965.75 for the Homeless Services Department. This agreement will be in effect for a two year period from the effective date of the County’s notice to proceed and ending on the last day of the final month. In addition, the BOCC rejected the proposal submitted from New Beginnings of Tampa, Inc. deemed non-responsible for the failure of their company to be financial capable to perform services.   The purpose of this project is to provide a Community Housing Solutions Center with 24 hour access, 7 days per week that includes services such as food, showers, personal storage, laundry facilities, and security/supervision. Services shall be provided on-site at 3630 North 50th Street, Tampa, Florida 33619 and/or through linkages with other community-based programs, all supporting the goal of residents attaining permanent or permanent supportive housing. ***   Hillsborough County News Nov. 21, 2014 Contact: Michelle Van Dyke, Communications & Digital Media, (813) 272-5305  

U.S. Senator Marco Rubio, Florida Senator Jeff Brandes, and Hillsborough County Commissioner Sandy Murman Present a Veterans Resource Fair

Who:     In order to help Tampa Bay veterans and their families better understand the benefits and services available to them, we are bringing together federal, state, local, and community organizations. Veterans can receive assistance in areas such as health care, education, financial services, benefits, housing, legal services, county services, and many others. Representatives from the following organizations are scheduled to attend:   –        James A. Haley Veterans Hospital (including Mobile Outreach Clinic) –        Bay Pines VA Healthcare System –        U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs –        Florida Department of Veteran Affairs –        Hillsborough County’s Veterans Affairs –        Pinellas County Veteran Services –        Veterans of Foreign Wars –        Disable American Veterans –        USAA –        Hillsborough County Bar Association –        University of South Florida Veterans Services –        Crisis Center – Veterans Outreach Division   When:  Friday, Dec. 5, 2014 10 a.m. – 2 p.m.   Where: Port Tampa Bay, Terminal 6 1101 Channelside Drive Tampa, FL  33602   Staff members of Senator Rubio, Senator Brandes, and Commissioner Murman will also be on hand for the event. For more information please call (813) 287-5035.   ###

Apollo Beach Nature Preserve will be closed.

Apollo Beach Nature Preserve will be closed.

PRESS RELEASE 11/13/14 By Apollo Beach Waterway Improvement Group, Inc.

APOLLO BEACH SHORELINE RESTORATION AND CHANNEL DREDGING UNDERWAY

The shoreline restoration and channel dredging project at the Apollo Beach Nature Preserve is underway. The $1.525 million project is a working partnership between the Hillsborough County Parks, Recreation and Conservation Department, local businesses, and the Apollo Beach Waterway Improvement Group, Inc., a Florida non-profit organization. The Public/Private Partnership project will relieve channel silting and mitigate beach erosion. The Hillsborough County Parks, Recreation and Conservation Department closed the Apollo Beach Nature Preserve on November 10th to protect public safety during the construction phase of the project. The County is installing eight breakwaters parallel to the western shoreline and a T-groin near the North Channel. These structures will reduce wave energy to minimize erosion from the beach and reduce the sediment settling into the North Channel. The project also includes dune restoration, a living shoreline, and a newly designed beach area. The Apollo Beach Waterway Improvement Group project reclaims sand for the beach by dredging the three channels connecting Apollo Beach to Tampa Bay. At the park, ABWIG will build a dewatering containment area, return the sand onto the beach, replant native vegetation and rebuild the concrete walk and motorway. After dredging, ABWIG will install navigational markers and lights along the channels and jetty. ABWIG estimates the cost for post-dredging restoration of park property and the installation navigational aids to be $35,000. ABWIG has raised funds for the dredging phase of the project through donations from area businesses, including The Mosaic Company, Tampa Electric Company, Newland Development, Century 21 and Keller Williams Realty Companies, several homeowners associations, boating clubs and individuals. ABWIG credits County Commissioner Sandra Murman with coordinating various governmental agencies and facilitating working relationships to complete this public service project. For more information and to contribute to ABWIG, go to www.abwig.org or Apollo Beach Waterway Improvement Group on Facebook. ABWIG’s mailing address is: PO Box 3251, Apollo Beach, FL 33572 ###

Domestic Violence Prevention Month:

Domestic violence often goes overlooked and ignored, but you can do something about it by teaching your children how to recognize when it’s happening, and telling them who they can talk to about reporting it. During Domestic Violence Prevention Month we’re bringing more attention to the issue through awareness campaigns such as this powerful video about youth football players defending their mothers, in light of the recent insensitivity of the NFL on the issue. It’s important we send our kids the right message on what this is, and how we should feel about it. CLICK HERE TO SEE VIDEO: Domestic Violence Video: Five for Mom   *****   Hillsborough County News August 1, 2014 Contact:  Aleshia Jones, Communications and Digital Media Services, (813)274-6787    From the Hillsborough County Consumer Protection Agency: How to Avoid Credit Repair Scams – August 2014   Credit repair scams are alive and well. Consumers are being inundated with telemarketing calls and social media posts claiming they can reduce interest rates on outstanding credit cards and loans and repair bad credit records. The truth is, these are often scams designed to get your money and ultimately do not provide the services they promised. These “businesses” often use multiple names and fly under the radar with only a toll free number and website touting their “services.” Consumers who entertain these fake promises are provided legitimate looking websites and documents to sign and are asked for up front money to begin the “repair” process. Thousands of Americans have bad credit, and credit issues take time to fix; do not act hastily out of desperation for better credit or you will be vulnerable to a credit repair scam.   Signs of a credit Repair Scam:                   

  • You are asked for payment before services are performed.
  • You are not provided a copy of the contract to review until you are asked to sign it and it does not include:

o   The fees for services o   Details about the services o   Date or time frame of when the services will be performed o   The name and address of the business o   A statement notifying the consumer they can cancel the contract in 3 days

  • The company promises to remove accurate negative information on your credit report or asks you to dispute accurate negative information.
  • The company promises to create a “new” identity with a new social security number or federal employer ID number or tells you to give false information on applications for credit or a loan.

Bankrate.com offers the following advice to consumers who want to improve their credit:

  • Pay down your balances. Contact your credit card issuer or loan issuer to find out if they will accept multiple monthly payments.
  • Eliminate nuisance balances and pay off credit cards with small balances. Then select one or two cards with good interest rates and use them for everything.
  • Leave old debt and good accounts on your credit record as long as possible. This is a good reason not to close old accounts where you have had a solid payment record. Do not get rid of good debt only if it’s old.
  • When shopping for new credit or mortgages, do so within a short time span (14 days and no longer than 45 days). Every time you apply for credit, it can generate a dip in your score that lasts a year.
  • Do not be late when paying your regular bills. Make on-time payments every month to prevent damage to your credit and score.
  • Taking a cash advance could indicate current or future money stress. You don’t want to do anything that would indicate risk.
  • Be familiar with your credit report. Consumers are entitled to one free credit report annually from each of the three major credit bureaus: Equifax, Experian & TransUnion. Consumers can order one credit report every four months to monitor their credit for free at www.annualcreditreport.com.

To contact the Hillsborough County Consumer Protection Agency, call (813)903-3430 or visit www.HillsboroughCounty.org/ConsumerProtection.   ###

PAINT DISPOSAL IMPROVEMENTS AT SOLID WASTE COLLECTION SITES

REPORT TO THE BOARD OF COUNTY COMMISSIONERS

August 6, 2014

At the June 18, 2014 Board Meeting, the Commissioners requested Public Works staff to develop a plan of action to improve the paint disposal process at County Collection Sites in order to

provide a higher level of waste service.

Background

The Solid Waste Management Division (SWMD) manages three household chemical and electronics disposal locations. The locations and frequency of operation are provided below:

Northwest: 9805 N. Sheldon Rd, Tampa First Saturday of each month

South County: 13000 U.S. Highway 41, Gibsonton Second Saturday of each month

East County: 6209 County Road 579, Seffner Third Saturday of each month

Each location is open from 8 A.M. to 2 P.M. and receives approximately 500 participates monthly. Materials that are accepted include electronics and household chemicals that are

characterized as corrosive, reactive, flammable or toxic. Examples include paint, pesticides, gasoline, batteries, and oil. The SWMD also operates four Community Collection Centers (CCC) that are open Monday

Saturday from 7:30 A.M. – 5:30 P.M. Items accepted include residential bulk trash, household electronics, appliances, tires, and batteries. The locations of the CCC’s are provided below:

Alderman Ford: 9402 State Road 39, Lithia

Hillsborough Heights: 6209 County Road 579, Seffner

Northwest: 8001 W. Linebaugh Ave, Tampa

South County: 13000 U.S. Highway 41, Gibsonton

Plan of Action

Paint and electronics are the most frequently disposed of items at the Household Chemical and Electronics locations. SWMD staff is currently working with the Florida Department of

Environmental Protection (FDEP) to modify the operation permits at the four Community Collection Centers to allow for paint disposal at these locations. The permit modification is

expected to be received by November 2014. Once received, citizens will be able to dispose of paint, electronics, and batteries at the CCC’s six days a week. Staff will work with

Communications and Digital Media Services to inform residents of the expanded disposal options offered at the CCC’s.

###     BACK TO SCHOOL: Commissioner Sandy Murman will be on hand to receive 200 “SackPacks” from the Office Depot Foundation that will help South County-area children prepare for school. For more information on this Office Depot Foundation event on August 7th, please click on the news release below: Office Depot SackPack event Press Release   SAVE A LIFE! Learn Hand Only CPR! Read this flyer from Hillsborough County Fire Rescue (HCFR) for more information: Hands Only CPR – HCFR   Commissioners approve collaborative plan to combat human trafficking   CountyCommissioners approved a detailed report from the county’s Department of Children and Youth Services on a 9-month collaborative effort to combat human trafficking in HillsboroughCounty and the TampaBay area.   The county worked closely with the Community Campaign Against Human Trafficking, led by Dotti Groover-Skipper along with many community partners including the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office, the Florida Coalition on Human Trafficking, the Salvation Army, Eckerd Community Alternatives, Junior League of Tampa, DACCO, the Department of Children and Families, Children’s Advocacy Center, Head Start/Early Head Start, U.S. Immigration and Customs, Crisis Center of Tampa Bay, Pasco County Sheriff’s Office, Tampa Bay Health Collaborative, Department of Juvenile Justice, Zeta Sorority, Family Resource Centers, Erwin Tech, Redefining Refuge, Children’s Services Advisory Board and survivors of human trafficking.   The collaborative’s mission is to facilitate total community engagement to eliminate modern day slavery. The group developed strategic objectives, and operational committees to implement plans in the areas of legislative education, victim services, survivor/thriver empowerment, community awareness, resource development prevention and community action groups.   The larger goal is to create an overarching non-profit group dedicated to confront the problem of human trafficking in the entire TampaBay area. Through the collaborative workshops, the group developed a one-year tactical plan that they will begin to implement immediately. *** Commissioner Murman quoted in this WFLA article on Amazon.   Amazon hiring hundreds in Ruskin Posted: Jun 16, 2014 11:40 AM EDT Updated: Jun 16, 2014 11:41 AM EDT By WFLA.com web staff  RUSKIN, FL (WFLA) – Amazon is now hiring for hundreds of full-time positions available at its Hillsborough County site. The one million-square-foot fulfillment center is currently under construction in Ruskin. This is this first phase of hiring. Amazon will eventually hire more than 1,000 full-time jobs at the facility. The hourly positions will pick, pack and ship items to customers. “Amazon continues to be a major driver of economic growth and job creation in Hillsborough County. With these new job opportunities in South Shore, Amazon is already having a tremendous economic impact on the community,” said Sandra Murman, Hillsborough County Commissioner. “Today’s announcement regarding Amazon’s ongoing efforts to immediately hire hundreds of employees will continue to strengthen the ability of our families and businesses to thrive and prosper.” In addition to competitive wages, employees are immediately eligible for comprehensive benefits that include health insurance, 401(k) with 50 percent match, bonuses, company stock awards and a network of support to ensure employees succeed. Amazon also offers full-time employees innovative programs like Career Choice, where the company will pre-pay up to 95 percent of tuition for courses related to in-demand fields, regardless of whether the skills are relevant to a career at Amazon. Interested candidates can apply at www.workatamazonfulfillment.com. Copyright 2014 WFLA. All rights reserved. ***   RECYCLING AT HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY RECREATIONAL FACILITIES REPORT TO THE BOARD OF COUNTY COMMISSIONERS   JUNE 4, 2014   At the April 23, 2014 Board Meeting, the Commissioners requested a report regarding Public Works and Parks Recreation and Conservation Departments’ plan of action to create a recycling program at parks locations throughout HillsboroughCounty.   BACKGROUND Parks Department operates more than 176 neighborhood parks and playgrounds countywide, 265 athletic fields, 40 recreation centers, and 10 regional parks. Solid waste collection for these locations is provided through contract # ITB-S-0013-0-2014/CM with Republic Services (Republic). This commercial solid waste collection and disposal contract serves Hillsborough County Government facilities located within the County service area. Currently there is no commercial recycling collection and processing contract in place for County facilities.   PLAN OF ACTION Public Works staff is working with Republic to modify the current solid waste commercial collection and disposal contract to include recycling collection and processing at all County facilities. This modification will require Board approval and is expected to take approximately 30 days to process.   Approximately 100 parks locations are identified for the initial rollout of this recycling effort. These locations include recreational sites, boat ramps, programmed parks and regional Parks. In conjunction with the anti-litter and recycling campaign, signs will be placed throughout recreational centers and athletic fields encouraging patrons to “Think Before You Throw”. Keep Tampa Bay Beautiful will also partner with the County to provide volunteers to serve as Recycling Ambassadors at various parks locations. ### Housing market has its challenges This article in The Fiscal Times shows important trends in the housing market:   Home prices are rising through the roof. Prices continue to rise  this year, albeit at a slower pace than last year. The median existing single-family home price in the U.S. was $191,600 in the first quarter, up 8.6% from 176,400 in the first quarter of 2013. In HillsboroughCounty, the median existing single-family home price was $190,000 in the first quarter, up 9.5% from $181,500 in the first quarter of 2013.   Cash is king. All-cash sales reached a new high in the first quarter. Almost 43 percent of all U.S. residential property sales in the first quarter were cash-only purchases, up 19% from 2013.   Millennials are left out of any housing recovery. Young people, who typically represent the bulk of first-time buyers, have amassed large debt loads and are struggling to find jobs or to make enough money to buy their first home.   The mortgage market is sluggish. Mortgage credit availability was down in April and until the end of April mortgage applications were at their lowest levels since December  2000.   Jumbo loans are making a comeback. Loans worth more than $417,000 have grown substantially and lenders are trying to grab a slice of the market.   New construction is slow. U.S. housing starts rose 2.8% in March compared to February. But housing starts were down 5.9% from a year earlier and building permits fell 2.4% – the fourth drop in five months. The Tampa housing market shows that new home activity slowed in in the first quarter, reflecting mixed economic news and a continuation of 2013 trends. In Tampa, 1,175.   ###   Commissioners approve protocol for removal and disposal of dead animals Hillsborough County Commissioners approved the proposed changes to how the county removes and disposes of dead animals. Protocol now includes identification of deceased pets, sensitive notification of owners, and sensitivity training. Pet Resources, Code Enforcement and Public Works will partner in this much needed service. Report to the Board of County Commissioners on the Removal and Disposal of Dead Animals in Hillsborough County Issue The Board directed Code Enforcement and Animal Services Department staff to develop a plan of action to deal with removal and disposal of dead animals in Hillsborough County, and bring back a report to the Board to include how this was accomplished in the past; the current situation; and, recommendations on how to address this issue moving forward. Background • Dead animals in Hillsborough County have historically been classified as small animals such as dogs and cats; and large animals , such as cows, horses, deer, and wild hogs. • The Public Works Department has had, and continues to have, responsibility for large animal removal and disposal. • In the past, the responsibility for small animal removal and disposal has fluctuated between the Animal Services and Public Works departments. Specifically, Animal Services had responsibility for small animal removal and disposal until 2006. • Since 2006, the function has been tasked to the Public Works Department. The function was funded from 2006 until 2011. The Public Works Department continued to remove and dispose of large and small dead animals although the function has remained unfunded for the past two years until March 24, 2014. • On March 25, 2014 the unfunded function of small dead animal removal and disposal was assumed by the Code Enforcement and Pet Resources Department. To May 6, 2014, staff has responded to 34 calls related to small animal removal and disposal. Recommendation Identification of a deceased pet in the County rights of way; retrieval to the Shelter; notification to its owner; and the return of the deceased pet to its owner, ought to be a core service in alignment with the County Administrator’s vision of a caring society characterized by stellar customer service and connection to the community we serve. In addition to cats and dogs, we receive calls for removal and disposal of dead ducks, raccoons, possums, and birds in the County rights of way. Considering our limited resources and additional unfunded functions recently assigned, we hereby propose a protocol which gives response priority to cats and dogs. The process comprises the collaboration and coordination of various departments under the County Administrator. The proposed protocol is attached.   Protocol for the Removal and Disposal of Dead Animals 1. Call centers and customer service personnel throughout the County shall be informed that • The Hillsborough County Code Enforcement & Pet Resources Department shall remove and dispose of household animals, as defined in Hillsborough County’s Land Development Code and other small animals from Rights of Way when they cause a danger to health and safety. • Hillsborough County Public Works Department shall remove and dispose of large dead animals such as horses, cows, deer, pigs or hogs, goats, and similar wildlife; • The jurisdiction comprises the unincorporated area of the County and also excludes State highways which traverse unincorporated land. Therefore, call centers and customer service personnel shall transmit dead animal removal calls to the appropriate jurisdiction, whether FDOT or the three municipalities within the County; • Callers shall be immediately directed to 911 if a dead animal is an imminent hazard to life and safety (for example if the dead animal is blocking the flow of traffic and could therefore cause an accident); • Non-emergency response for dogs and cats shall be within one (1) business day of receipt of the request by the Code Enforcement & Pet Resources officer; 2. Identification a) Upon contact with a deceased dog or cat in the public right of way, the Code Enforcement officer shall scan the animal for microchip in the field; b) If the animal tests positive for a microchip and the owner’s address is within close proximity to location of the deceased animal, the Code Enforcement & Pet Resources officer shall make a reasonable effort to offer the return of the remains to the owner prior to transport to the Shelter, otherwise immediate arrangements to have the animal transported to the Shelter will me made; c) Animal which test negative for a microchip in the field shall be transported to the Shelter for a verification scan as soon as possible within the officer’s schedule.   3. Notification a) Upon matching the pet and owner information in the system, Shelter staff shall immediately notify the owner with corresponding decorum. b) Training shall be provided to Shelter personnel tasked with making the sensitive deceased pet notifications. 4. Disposal a) All deceased dogs and cats removed from the rights of way, and not claimed by owners shall be disposed of at the Shelter by a private contractor; b) All other dead animals removed from the rights of way by Code Enforcement & Pet Resources Department officers shall be disposed of according to State Statutes and established County guidelines. c) Deceased animals shall be held at the Shelter for no less than two days pending owner retrieval due to shelter health considerations. ###   Hillsborough County News May 5, 2014 Contact: Marti Ryan, Communications and Digital Media Services Department, Desk 813-272-6699, Cell 813-356-9711

Adventure Into Recreation with Summer Camps from Hillsborough County Parks

The lazy days of summer are never boring with Hillsborough County’s Parks, Recreation and Conservation Department.   Children ages 6 to 16 can enjoy recreation, outdoor adventure, field trips, and learn to play new sports during a series of two-week camps from June 16 through August 8.  Camps will be held on weekdays from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. at various locations around Hillsborough County.   Offerings include Fine Arts Camp, Nature Camp, Teen Camp, and Traditional Summer Camp.  Therapeutic Camps will be offered at the Bakas Equestrian Center.   Hillsborough County’s newest camp offering is the Guy Harvey Saltwater Fishing Camp featuring supplies donated by the famous Guy Harvey Ocean Foundation.   Online registration for Hillsborough County’s summer camps opens on Wednesday, May 7 at noon. Registration remains open until camps are full, and registration can be done online or on-site at any Rec2Six Camp Day locations:

Discounts Anyone wishing to receive a discount on summer camps must create an online profile, and bring a Free/Reduced Lunch Letter to any Rec2Six location for qualification prior to completing camp registration.   For more information, visit the Parks, Recreation and Conservation Department at www.HillsboroughCounty.org/Parks  or call 813-635-3500.   ###

Commissioners take steps to create manufacturing academy, apprenticeship program

The Hillsborough County Board of CountyCommissioners approved an agreement with CareerSourceTampaBay in the amount of $350,000, for the period of May 1, 2014 to September 30, 2015, to provide operational support services to the County for the development and delivery of the ManufacturingAcademy and Apprenticeship/Internship Program to address the identified skills gap in HillsboroughCounty.   Across the country, communities are experiencing what is being described as a “skills gap” or a mismatch between what manufacturers need in terms of worker skills, and the skills offered by the available workforce. In 2012, the severity of this issue locally pushed workforce and economic development organizations to take a closer look at the area’s manufacturing skills gap through a survey of local manufacturers.   “When I first began working with our partners at Tampa Bay Workforce Alliance, the University of South Florida, HCC, Hillsborough County Schools, the Tampa/Hillsborough EDC and Ron Barton of our Economic Development Department, we focused on results of a Manufacturing Gap Analysis report and how we could create a program that would train the next generation of talented young workers in this area,” said Commissioner Sandy Murman.   The report, the Hillsborough-Pinellas Manufacturing Gap Analysis, was published in August 2013 by CareerSource Tampa Bay (CSTB) and concluded that the community must better promote careers in manufacturing to students, parents and workforce participants, increase internship and apprenticeship offerings at local manufacturers, and improve coordination between the manufacturing industry and educational institutions that can address the skills gap.   The result of the meetings and collaboration is this ManufacturingAcademy and Apprenticeship/Internship Program (MAAIP).   “A critical outcome of this program is to create an ongoing commitment by the manufacturing community to engage ManufacturingAcademy students in meaningful on-the-job-training opportunities in the form of apprenticeships and internships,” added Commissioner Murman. “We’re very excited about the future of this program.” ###     HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY NEWS FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Media Contact:  Lindsey Kimball, CEcD, Economic Development Director (813) 272-7232

International Study Confirms Hillsborough County’s Leading Business Environment

Hillsborough County, FL – March 4, 2014 – Hillsborough County, the business and population center of the Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater, FL metropolitan statistical area, was recently identified by international tax advisory firm KPMG as a leading cost-friendly business environment.  The recently released 2014 Competitive Alternatives measured 26 cost components across a variety of business-to-business service and manufacturing operations, finding that Hillsborough County and its surrounding communities were one of only two large US markets to rank in the top 20% for competitive costs of doing business across an array of industries. Hillsborough County’s rankings across examined industry segments, compared to 107 other areas, as reported by KPMG: Corporate Services                          3rd Manufacturing                                  5th Digital Services                                  6th Research & Development            6th Overall                                                  6th “We are pleased that KPMG’s Competitive Alternatives validates what we and the many businesses that have chosen to locate and grow in Hillsborough already know – that we are a top-tier business location” said Mark Sharpe, Chairman of the Hillsborough County Board of County Commissioners.  “From start-ups to Fortune 500 firms, the county presents a strong value proposition for a competitive operating environment.” For more information on Hillsborough County business competitiveness initiatives, contact Lindsey Kimball, Director of Economic Development, (813) 273-3684.   About Hillsborough County The mission of Hillsborough County government is to provide effective quality service at a reasonable cost with courtesy, integrity and accountability in a manner that protects and enhances the quality of life of our diverse population.  The Economic Development Department administers programs that sustain and encourage the economic growth of the local economy. Competitive positioning is one of ten drivers for prosperity identified by the Board of County Commissioners and is part of the Board’s economic development strategy. ###

Board Approves Mental Health Pilot Program for Hillsborough

The Board approved, for the Health Care Services Division, Department of Family and Aging Services, an increase to the Indigent Health Care Plan – Community Programs Budget by $2,000,000 for the provision of a mental health ‘pilot program’ to better address mental health needs as requested by the Board of County Commissioners at the February 19, 2014 meeting. The pilot program is considered an innovative and cost effective program designed to integrate primary care and mental health/behavioral health care.

Commissioners Reduce AGR Fees to Zero

Hillsborough County Commissioners adopted a resolution at their March 19th meeting amending the current resolution governing water and wastewater rates. The BOCC reduced the accrued guaranteed revenue fees (AGRF) that are payable for existing and proposed residential, mastermetered residential, or commercial development to $0.00 per potable water service ERC and $0.00 per wastewater service ERC. They did this by reducing the monthly operating and maintenance costs associated with each unused potable water ERC and each unused wastewater ERC to $0.00 and $0.00, respectively; and by reducing the builder payments to $92.00 per potable water ERC and to $133.00 per wastewater ERC. This action will reduce revenue by approximately $6.4 million annually for the County’s Water/Wastewater Enterprise System. It is anticipated that the reduction of the ARGF fee will not negatively impact the System’s ability to meet its bond coverage requirements or make deposits to the Operations & Maintenance Funds and the Renewal and Replacement Fund as required by the System’s bond covenants. ###

Sandy Murman Calls on Community

to Take Part in Homeless Count

NEWS RELEASE   FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE   MEDIA CONTACT: Lesa Weikel, Community Relations Manager 813-223-6115, ext. 45 (office) or 727-421-0240 (cell) Email: Lesa@homelessofhc.org

Homeless Count is Critical Piece in Effort to End Homelessness

THHI Calls on Community Members to Volunteer for the Homeless Count and provides update on organization’s restructuring

 

 

TAMPA, Fla. – (Thursday, February 6, 2014) –  At a press conference this afternoon, the Tampa Hillsborough Homeless Initiative put out a call for volunteers for the upcoming homeless count in Hillsborough County “This year we are truly ‘counting to end homelessness,’” said Maria Barcus, CEO of the Tampa Hillsborough Homeless Initiative (THHI).  “In order to reduce and end homelessness, we must have excellent data by which to measure the community’s success in getting people off the street. This year’s count numbers will be the baseline of where we start.” At least 500 volunteers are needed to adequately cover a county the size of HillsboroughCounty to get an accurate count of how many people are literally homeless.  Organizers stated that only one-fifth of the number needed have signed up. Several community and business leaders were on hand to show support and emphasize the importance of this year’s homeless count.  County Commissioner Sandy Murman shared she will be volunteering during the count and called on others in the community to take a few hours and do the same.  Father Sean O’Brien from Sacred Heart Catholic Church called on members of the faith community to be part of this year’s count as well. Barcus also spoke briefly about the organization’s recent restructuring and recent actions by the organization to help redirect resources to best practices.   “Recognizing that HillsboroughCounty needs an oversight organization to guide the community effort, the Homeless Coalition of Hillsborough County has been re-organized and re-energized to become the Tampa Hillsborough Homeless Initiative,” stated Barcus. No longer a membership organization, THHI will be accountable to the community at large as the vehicle by which the community comes together to address homelessness through data-driven actions based on best practices from around the country.  The new board of directors brings together community leaders from all sectors – government, business, philanthropic and service providers. Barcus provided two examples of how the organization has begun to do this.  First is the decision by THHI to request, in the annual Continuum of Care (CoC) grant application to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), to reallocate almost 50 percent of the funding from supportive services to permanent housing solutions.  If awarded, $2.6 million of the CoC funding will be for new permanent housing programs including a rapid rehousing program for families with children and a permanent supportive housing program using a housing first approach for chronically homeless persons.  The decision reflects the focus on permanent housing solutions, which also aligns with HUD’s priorities. Recognizing the need for a more efficient and effective system for homeless people to get connected to housing, the second example Barcus provided is that THHI is leading the community to develop and implement a Coordinated Intake and Assessment process.  Coordinated Intake and Assessment will streamline the process by which homeless individuals and families access help and change the allocation of available resources from a ‘first-come, first-serve’ approach to an approach that prioritizes those most vulnerable and most in need.  It is a system of matching people to the right intervention for them and providing the minimum help needed to re-house them. “This is a system change to ensure resources are being allocated and targeted efficiently and effectively,” stated Barcus.  She noted that these are not new resources and unfortunately, at this time, there may still be waiting lists and delays in being able to get people immediately off the street, until additional community resources and system changes are developed and implemented. Barcus also recognized there are more actions needed in order to meet the needs of homeless people, and this community needs a unified vision and action strategy for how to   collectively meet these needs and end homelessness.  THHI, with the input of national and local experts and leaders, is completing a strategy to reduce and end homelessness in HillsboroughCounty that will provide the direction to these needed actions.  A draft of this strategy will be released near the end of March for public comment and input; with the final strategy being rolled out in Mid-May.  This single, community strategy will focus efforts and resources on permanent housing solutions, revamping the community’s response to homelessness through best practice models and measureable outcomes, and utilizing data to make informed system decisions. “The effectiveness of the strategy and this community’s efforts will be based on measureable goals and benchmarks,” said Barcus.  “That is why this year’s count is a critical piece of the overall efforts underway and why we are here today asking for the community’s help by volunteering for the homeless count on February 27.“ People interested in volunteering for the homeless count can sign up via THHI’s website, www.homelessofhc.org.  Children in high school may volunteer for the count, if they are accompanied by a parent or guardian.  All count volunteers must also attend a count training prior to the day of count.  A list of training dates is also posted on the organization’s website.  For more information, contact THHI at (813) 223-6115.   The Tampa Hillsborough Homeless Initiative is a 501 (C) 3 organization whose mission is to bring together various entities, agencies, service organizations, and individuals to establish and maintain a concentrated effort to break the cycle of homelessness in Hillsborough County, Florida.

# # #

  Hillsborough County News Feb. 7, 2014

Sandy accepts Junior Achievement's Bronze Leadership Award for her volunteer work with the organization.

Sandy accepts Junior Achievement’s Bronze Leadership Award for her volunteer work with the organization.

 County Commissioner Sandy Murman Earns Top Leadership Award

Tampa, FL – Junior Achievement of Tampa Bay announced on Thursday, February 6, 2014, that Hillsborough County Commissioner Sandra L. Murman has been chosen from more than 187,000 U.S. volunteers to earn the organization’s premier award for volunteerism, the Bronze Leadership Award.   The purpose of the Bronze Leadership Award is to recognize JA volunteers who have performed outstanding service to Junior Achievement. By sharing their personal and professional experiences and skills with students, volunteers help students make the connection between what they learn in school and what they will need to succeed in work and life.   “Sandy Murman is a wonderful example of how one person can make such a huge difference in the lives of young people in our community,” said Richard George, president of Junior Achievement of Tampa Bay.   “The local business community has been extremely supportive of Junior Achievement’s goal of inspiring local students to succeed in the global economy,” said George. “And Commissioner Sandy Murman is a remarkable example of that spirit of generosity. In a very real way, she helps Hillsborough JA students develop financial literacy, entrepreneurship and work-readiness skills, contribute to the community and participate in the revitalization of the economy.”   Junior Achievement’s Bronze Leadership Award honors volunteer excellence. The award is presented in recognition of participation and leadership in supporting and expanding JA’s student impact, increasing resources and/or operational excellence and sustainability.   Editor’s Note:  Photo Attached   ###   Commissioner Murman mentioned in the photo caption of this Tampa Tribune article on the new South County YMCA:   SOUTH SHORE NEWS

South Shore’s new YMCA breaks ground

LOIS KINDLE/STAFF

Hillsborough County Commissioner Sandy Murman, Dist. 2, spearheaded the effort to get a new YMCA in South Shore. She said the Y is a perfect example of how a public-private partnership can come together to benefit the community.

::::

By Lois Kindle | Tribune Staff Published: January 28, 2014   GIBSONTON – Folks around South Shore have something to celebrate now that ground has been broken for the Phase I of the new South Shore YMCA. Barring unexpected weather events, five multipurpose fields, a playground, covered basketball court and picnic pavilion will soon be ready for use. County, state and YMCA officials were among those attending a Jan. 21 private ceremony marking the beginning of the construction process. Within weeks things should start happening. “All of phase one is funded and we anticipate having our youth and adult sports programs operational by the end of the year,” said Cindy Sofarelli, senior group vice president of the Tampa YMCA. “We’re excited because there’s so much excitement about the Y coming to South Shore. It’s going to be a huge asset to the community.” “We will serve people of all ages – from the very young to the very old,” she said. “As our facilities come on board we’ll be offering Silver Sneakers at the new Y in addition to what’s being offered through our partnership with JSA in Sun City Center. We’ll also have programs for active older adults, empty nesters and the newly retired. There will be something for everyone.” Sofarelli added there’s an organic nature to the Y’s programming. “As we get into the community and hear more, our program plan can continue to evolve,” she said. That’s good news for South Shore residents who have waited a long time for their own Y. A survey of 700 people commissioned by the Tampa YMCA in 2010 found broad support for building a facility in South Shore. “This is the first, full-family YMCA in a decade, said Tom Looby, Tampa YMCA president and CEO. The last was built in Northwest Hillsborough County. Looby said the Y’s programming mission includes the following priorities: • Partnership with Hillsborough County Schools to close the academic achievement gap • Prevention and management of chronic disease • Teen development, including civic engagement, academic support and leadership opportunities • Drowning prevention Hillsborough County commissioners voted unanimously last August to authorize a long-term lease agreement between the county and the Tampa Metropolitan Area YMCA to build e construction of a new family facility on county-owned land next to Vance Vogel Park on Old Big Bend Road. Initially the lease is for 30 years with an option to renew. As part of this public-private, joint-use lease agreement, Hillsborough County agreed to provide $2 million of the $3.5 million needed to complete phase one. The Tampa YMCA has raised the remaining $1.5 million. The Tampa Y is responsible for the cost and construction of phase two, which will include an aquatics center, and phase three, a 30,000-square-foot “starter” facility, a main YMCA building that potentially could grow to 75,000 or 80,000 square feet. With about 40 acres of land, there’s certainly room to grow, Sofarelli said. The total estimated cost of the current plan is $8.5 million, and depending on capital fundraising efforts, it is expected to be completely implemented in three to five years. To make a donation specifically for the new South Shore YMCA – to be called the Family Y at Big Bend Road for now – call Jan Berry at (813) 224-9622, ext. 1268. That could change if a major donor requests naming rights, which was the case in the Campo YMCA in Valrico. For more information about the YMCA, contact Lalita Llerena at (813) 224-9622, ext. 1240, or Lalita.Llerena@tampaymca.org. lkindle@tampatrib.com *** Jan. 21, 2014 Tampa Bay Builders Association Economic Forecast for Tampa Bay:    TAMPA BAY VIEW:  Tony Polito, Regional Director Metrostudy – A Hanley Wood Company

  • Lots of new apartments have been built but 94% leased is consistent
  • Low point was early 2009
  • Closing numbers are trending up
  • 39,200 new jobs in Tampa in 2013
  • Close to having our largest job base ever
  • More homes in higher price bands than historical
  • 2/3 of new home sales market in 2013 was in Hillsborough
  • Pricing is up 8-10% over year ago
  • Lot supply by market:
    • Hillsborough County 20 months
    • Pinellas County 38 months
    • Pasco County 48 months
    • Equilibrium is about 22-24 months
    • Median house prices recovering

GOING FORWARD:

  • 2012 start of recovery with 26% growth in housing
  • 2013 29% growth
  • 2014 maybe 20 % plus (Est. 7750 permits up from 7200)
  • Marketplace will have some curves ahead

FINAL THOUGHTS:

  • Across the board there was synergy that land prices will need to be in sync with what the home builders can sell.
  • National forecasts predict that the growth will last into 2016 with a leveling off in 2017.
  • All economists on panel agreed Florida will lag by about a year allowing us an additional year of growth.

*****

Nuclear follies, skyrocketing flood insurance rates among TampaBay’s Top 10 business stories of 2013

  • Times staff

Tampa Bay Times Friday, December 27, 2013 7:15pm 1. Nuclear follies In February, Duke Energy kills off the crippled CrystalRiver nuclear plant, left lame for years after the company tried a do-it-yourself upgrade project that left cracks in the containment wall that shields the reactor. In August, the company pulls the plug on the proposed LevyCounty nuclear project. The total bill for the two failures: about $5 billion, of which customers are on the hook for about $3 billion. What the customers get in return: not a single watt of electricity. The response to this $5 billion folly from most of the elected officials in Tallahassee: Yawn. 2. Flood insurance prices soar The Biggert-Waters Flood Insurance Reform Act was passed by Congress in 2012. But the tidal wave of consequences weren’t felt until 2013, with Pinellas County in particular and the Tampa Bay area in general right at the center of this pocketbook issue. To keep the National Flood Insurance Program afloat, the act called for the elimination of subsidies that date back decades. Many homeowners in older homes in flood zones were shocked to find out their annual premiums would jump about 20 percent annually for several years. And anyone who bought a subsidized home after the act took effect will lose the subsidies immediately, which can cause annual premiums to soar by 500 percent or more. 3. Hillsborough lures big businesses The list is impressive and diverse: Amazon, USAA, Bristol-Myers Squibb, Trader Joe’s, Copa Airlines, Gander Mountain, HealthPlan Services, Time Warner, Depository Trust & Clearing Corp. They are coming or have already opened or agreed to bring more jobs to HillsboroughCounty this year. USAA said it will add up to 1,215 jobs by 2019 as it builds a 420,000-square-foot facility in Brandon; HealthPlan Services is adding 1,000 jobs in Tampa; Amazon plans to build warehouses in Ruskin and Lakeland, adding about 1,000 jobs; Bristol-Myers Squibb is adding 579 jobs by 2017. You get the idea. Hillsborough economic development officials had a very good year. 4. The rise of rental nation Investment firms with armies of home analysts, bulk buyers and auction watchers flooded TampaBay’s housing market in 2013, spending more than $800 million buying thousands of suburban homes at bottom-of-thebarrel prices. Their bet? That their new acquisitions would attract a burgeoning market of renters, from foreclosed families unable to get a new loan to former home­owners craving the freedom of something new. Led by private-equity giant Blackstone, investors opened established home­owner neighborhoods to renters and elbowed out first-time buyers with a flood of cash. But they also led home prices to surge and invested in repairs many homes had gone without. 5. TIA lands Copa flights This year TampaInternationalAirport landed one of the biggest deals in its 42-year history: Panamanian carrier Copa Airlines announced that it would fly four times a week to Tampa, creating a link for tourism and trade that the bay area has long sought in Latin America. Copa’s major hub in Panama City puts Tampa one connecting flight away from the rest of Central and South America. The flights, which started this month, will help TampaBay firms better compete for Latin American business and help the bay area develop a market for Latin American tourism — advantages Orlando and Miami have enjoyed for years. Airport CEO Joe Lopano and his staff spent 2 ½ years chasing the Copa deal, which was sealed when TIA’s economic development partners pledged dollars and marketing muscle to help fill airplane seats. 6. Universal Health Care implodes Once a bright star in downtown St. Petersburg, Universal Health Care buckled under allegations of fraud, embezzlement and diversion of funds. The FBI raided the office in March, and by summer the 1,000-employee office was no more. The bankruptcy court trustee alleged a “pattern of dishonesty or gross mismanagement” at Universal, including “side deals” that benefited insiders, though no arrests have been made. Among the examples cited: a transfer of more than $18.3 million to another company controlled by Universal founder Dr. Akshay Desai last year and $2.2 million in “bonuses and other compensation” to company officers and directors in addition to their salaries, also in 2012. 7. Unemployment falls to 6.4 percent The state’s unemployment rate fell faster than almost ever other state’s. It started the year at 7.9 percent and fell nearly every month through November, the last month for which data is available. One caveat: The state’s labor pool keeps shrinking despite increases in the overall population. That could mean a lot of people waiting to return to work (or to look for work) in the coming months or years. 8. Pinellas tourism sets record The juggernaut that is PinellasCounty tourism kept rolling in 2013. Pinellas collected a record $31 million in tourist bed tax — the 5 percent surcharge tacked onto every short-term rental — in fiscal year 2013. What’s remarkable about that feat is that the old record, $28.7 million, was set when the Republican National Convention came to town in 2012. But Pinellas needed no once-in-a-century event to boost 2013 tourism. Officials credit more focused advertising — especially online. They also targeted specific ZIP codes up North during the winter and refocused on bay area and Orlando residents in the summer. The 2013 boom could bring in even more tourism revenue: Pinellas is on track to become the sixth Florida county to be declared a “high tourism impact” area, which would allow Pinellas to raise the bed tax to 6 percent, adding even more money to tourist tax coffers. 9. TIA announces master plan Get a good look at the old TampaInternationalAirport, because starting next year a new airport will rise in its place. In 2013 the airport’s overseer, the Hillsborough County Aviation Authority board, approved a $4.1 billion blueprint to expand and modernize the airport by 2028. The airport plans to spend $2.5 billion on new construction and $1.6 billion in upgrades and repairs over the next two decades. The first phase of construction starts in 2014, when the airport will spend $1 billion to build a new consolidated car rental facility south of the airport and a new 1.3-mile automated people mover to link it to the main terminal. Set to be finished by 2017, the project is expected to create 8,000 jobs. The first phase will relieve traffic congestion and set the stage for the next phases: expanding the main terminal and building a new international airside and new air-traffic control tower in the decades to come. 10. Home prices climb The TampaBay housing market’s sturdy improvements in 2012 looked like chump change in 2013. Early listing data show single-family home sales here jumped 8 percent in 2013, to more than 34,000 sales, the highest level since 2005. And with that boom came rising home prices, which climbed 17 percent to $155,000, the highest median price tag in five years. Few could doubt the market was finally in recovery after a prolonged and devastating bust. Many buyers fretted over a new housing bubble, though the market has since cooled, as mortgage rate and flood insurance hikes led buyers to recheck their budgets. Another housing bust? Economists say unlikely, and are predicting further price growth in 2014. Nuclear follies, skyrocketing flood insurance rates among TampaBay’s Top 10 business stories of 2013 12/27/13 [Last modified: Friday, December 27, 2013 6:47pm] © 2013 Tampa Bay Times *****    News You Can Use from Sandy:

FCC Offers Protection From Cell Phone Telemarketers

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) adopted additional consumer protections concerning unwanted autodialed phone calls and text messages. The revisions to the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) were intended to maximize consistency with the Federal Trade Commission’s (FTC) Telemarketing Sales Rule, which already requires express written consent for certain telemarketing calls. The TCPA rules apply to entities outside the FTC’s jurisdiction, including banks and other financial institutions, insurance companies, airlines, and intrastate telemarketers.   Q: How does the TCPA define telemarketing calls or telephone solicitations? A: These are defined as “the initiation of a telephone call or message for the purpose of encouraging the purchase or rental of, or investment in, property goods, or services, which is transmitted to any person.”   Q: What do the FCC’s new protection rules state? A: The recent rule revision states that “prior express written consent will be required” for all pre-recorded telemarketing calls to a residential phone line or wireless number, as well as for text messages or calls placed to a wireless number using an automatic dialing system.   Q: What does “prior express written consent” mean? A: This means that telemarketers must gain written permission before calling a party. The party being called must receive specific information about the call, and the party being called must provide a physical or electronic signature authorizing the call. Also, consent is not “grandfathered in” for telemarketers.   Q: Are there penalties for those who don’t comply with the rules? A: Yes. The TCPA allows private legal actions and provides for between $500 and $1,500 in statutory damages for each violation. The TCPA can also be enforced by the FCC and the State Attorney General. Claims for TCPA violations are often brought as class action cases.

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  Read Commissioner Sandy Murman’s Guest Column published in the Tampa Tribune about a new and innovative Jail Diversion Program:

New program aims to help mentally ill offenders

October 31, 2013 TBO.com On any given day as many as 18.9 percent among men and 42 percent among women, or 500 inmates at the Hillsborough County Jail, struggle with some form of mental illness. Most of them linger in the jail for an average of 48 days at taxpayers’ cost on misdemeanor violations. Most of them never receive help, leaving them to get released, then get re-arrested for similar non-violent offenses and thus continuing the “revolving door” impact on our jail system. In many parts of our county these mentally ill offenders are more likely to wind up in our emergency rooms or jail than counseling. This is at a cost that researchers estimate, based on 2011 projections for 537 mentally ill misdemeanants for 48 days (average length of stay) times $100.06 (average daily jail cost), equals $2,579,146.50, not including court costs, medical care, etc. The jail has had 465 new arrests with mental illness in the past 12 months. The problem is growing, and the jail is becoming a de-facto mental health facility. But a novel jail diversion program starts Friday in our Hillsborough County Jail system. Credit is to be given to Sheriff David Gee and Col. Jim Privetera for their vision and courage to tackle this problem head on. When misdemeanants are picked up by law enforcement, they will be taken to the jail diversion door instead of booking, which if the offender is willing, will divert them from a jail cell to community services for a minimum of 90 days. If they comply with the program, they will not be prosecuted. It’s a win-win for our community, with these positive outcomes: Decriminalizing mental illness and providing an alternative to criminal charges. Redirecting valuable jail and justice resources through an 80 percent decrease in booking for mentally ill offenders. Enhancing public safety by letting law enforcement stay on the streets, getting the violent criminals and providing treatment for those in need, and decreasing jail bed days. Decreasing emergency services in our hospitals, with up to 75 percent less frequent emergency room visits. Measuring treatment outcomes for future mental health needs in the county. If this sounds too touchy-feely, the results are concrete. We verify that the Sheriff’s Office saves $250,000 for every 1 percent decrease in the recidivism among the “frequent flyer” offenders in the jail system. Under the old system the only way these offenders could get help was to commit a dangerous crime. That is not acceptable. We can’t continue to ignore the problem. Counties in Florida have lagged behind the rest of the nation in addressing this serious problem. Our county is willing to commit resources to help those who need help and provide a long-term solution for those who wish to take responsibility for themselves. We are giving hope to these individuals. Sandra L. Murman is a HillsboroughCounty commissioner, District 1. She is the board’s vice chair.

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  This Tribune article has a special link below for job-seekers who are interested in finding out how to apply for jobs with Amazon: www.amazonfulfillmentcareers.com

Amazon announces plans for Hillsborough, Polk warehouses

Michael Sasso | Tribune Staff October 22, 2013 TAMPA — Online retailer Amazon officially announced Tuesday what many real estate experts predicted: it will build separate distribution centers in both Ruskin and Lakeland. Several clues have suggested the deals were imminent, including that developers had started pulling building permits on the sites of both proposed distributions centers. Also, Hillsborough County commissioners revealed earlier this month that Amazon was coming to Ruskin. However, the Seattle-based Internet giant had stayed silent on its local plans until Tuesday. “We look forward to offering more than 1,000 full-time jobs with comprehensive benefits at our new fulfillment centers in Hillsborough County and Lakeland, Florida,” said Mike Roth, Amazon’s vice president of North America operations, in a prepared statement. “We appreciate the state, city and county officials who have worked with us to bring these fulfillment centers to Florida. We’re excited to join the community, bringing great jobs and investment to the area.” Hillsborough leaders expect Amazon to build a 1 million-square-foot “fulfillment center” inside the South Shore Corporate Park just west of Interstate 75 and north of State Road 674. The company is expected to eventually employ about 1,000 full-time workers in Ruskin and perhaps as many as 1,000 more temporary seasonal workers at peak periods. Many of the jobs will be low-skill positions involved in sorting and picking customers’ orders, jobs that typically pay around $11.25 an hour, according to job postings for Amazon’s other warehouses around the country. However, at least 375 local jobs are expected to be higher-wage positions at average annual pay of $47,581. Hillsborough County offered the company more than $6 million in economic incentives to persuade it to open in Ruskin and hire workers, and the state will kick in at least $900,000 more. Gov. Rick Scott last summer negotiated a deal to bring Amazon into the state, which will create jobs but which also means Florida customers will begin paying sales tax on Amazon orders. “I would like to thank Amazon for recognizing that Florida’s business-friendly environment we’ve helped create is the perfect place for their latest expansion,” Scott said in a prepared statement. “On behalf of all Floridians, we welcome Amazon and the great jobs and opportunities that their expansion brings to Florida families.” As Amazon has done elsewhere around the country, it will ship large and small products from different warehouses in central Florida. In Ruskin, employees will sort and ship smaller items such as books and electronics to customers, while Lakeland employees will handle larger items such as kayaks and televisions, Amazon said in a news release. Job-seekers are encouraged to visit www.amazonfulfillmentcareers.com for information on positions. A firm called Seefried Development Management will develop the Ruskin project for Amazon, while a firm called Johnson Development Associates will develop the Lakeland site along County Line Road. The real estate arm of insurance giant USAA is the landlord for both projects. ###

Hillsborough County Adopted Budget for Fiscal Year 2014

Overview

  • The adopted budget for FY 14 is $3.49 billion.
  • For the first time since 2007, the tax base and available revenues increased.
  • Taxable values increased 5.3% resulting in an increase in ad valorem tax revenues of $28.4 million.
  • Between FY 07 and FY 13, ad valorem tax revenues have decreased $266 million or 32.7%.
  • The FY 14 Adopted Budget reflects the twenty-first consecutive year that the County’s millage has been reduced.
  • Cummulative savings on a $200,000 home since the beginning of the millage reductions total approximately $3,400.
  • The County has a “AAA” General Obligation Bond Rating from all three rating agencies.  Reserves in the County’s two major tax funds total $176 million or 20.8% of the general fund budget.  Generally, credit rating agencies prefer to see reserves that exceed 20%.
  • The FY 14 Budget includes 4,975 funded positions which is 1,633 or 25% less than FY 07.
  • In FY 14, the countywide taxable value is $62.9 billion, or 28.4% less than FY 08.

Highlights of Investments Included in the FY 14 Adopted Budget Sheriff – The budget is increased by $3.1 million (.8%).  Funding for new deputies is not included in the budget.  The budget reflects a significantly reduced level of funding for vacant positions that are not anticipated to be filled in FY 14. Clerk of the Circuit Court – The budget is reduced $816,995 (4.3%).  The savings is primarily due to the FY 13 budget including a one-time economic salary adjustment for employees totaling $1.3 million.  The FY 14 budget submission includes a request for continuing salary increases of 3.5%. No service impacts. Tax Collector – $5 million is included in the budget to fund a new facility, improvement their website, and for certain other technology improvements. Supervisor of Elections – The budget is increased $3,602,127 (45.8%).  The budget includes funding for a primary and general election and for a Plant City election.  Additional budget is also included for the purchase of new electronic poll books. Judicial Branch – The budget adds a clinical support position to assist in the mental evaluation of at-risk youth.  This will assist in identifying services needed and result in the reduction in the percentage of youth that reoffend. Animal Services – The budget is increased $1,316,813 (18.7%).  Significant additional personnel and operating resources are added to the department in support of the new live outcomes initiative.  This includes support for a Pilot Community Cat Program, increased spay and neuter surgeries, and greater adoptions. Code Enforcement – The budget is increased $627,224.  This increase reflects the transfer of the water restriction policing function from the Public Utilities Department.  These four positions will not only continue to identify violators of water restrictions, but they will also provide additional resources to identify more code violations. Communications – A new position is added to enhance the County’s web services.  Additionally, six new positions are added to establish the new County call center. Development Services – $250,000 is added to the budget for a review and overhaul of the land development code.  This will assist in identifying and removing unnecessary barriers to economic activity. Economic Development – Five new positions are established providing additional resources in support of increased utilization of small/minority business enterprises, and increased capacity for industry strategic initiatives.  Funding for consulting services is also included to assist in gathering information in support of development sites and Economic Development Area concepts. An additional $350,000 is added for a small business grant expansion program. $1 million is budgeted over the next two years supporting job placement and training. Family and Aging, Aging Services – Additional funding of $1 million is added to expand nutritious meal provided to senior citizens. Fire Rescue – The budget is increased $9,747,830 (8.5%).  During FY 13, 78 new firefighter positions were established to staff six stations that were previously staffed by volunteers.  The budget also adds four new emergency dispatch positions to maintain response times and three new rescue units to improve service in underserved areas of the County. Library Services – Additional operating budget is added in support of the library expansions at SeminoleHeights, Jimmy B. Keel, UpperTampaBay, and Bloomingdale.  $150,000 is included in the budget for a new program to support entrepreneurship and business development through library provided services in collaboration with various County nonprofit agencies. Medical Examiner – Approximately $700,000 is included in the budget for new equipment and for replacement of an outdated case management system. Parks, Recreation, and Conservation – Various additional projects are added to the Parks budget including funding for 1) park improvements at Providence West ($550,000), 2) Plant City park lighting ($650,000), 3) restoration of the beach at EG Simmons park, 4) a new shelter at RodneyColsonPark, 5) Waterset Sports Complex PDE and design, and 6) improvements at Winston Park. Transportation – The FY 14 budget funds many new transportation projects including: -131 Street PDE ($200,000) -Bearss at Bruce B. Downs road improvements ($800,000) -Bloomingdale at Beal Shoals road improvements ($4,000,000) -Bloomingdale at Culbreth road improvements ($1,500,000) -Courtney Highway Scenic Trail ($1,253,175)\ -Orient Road improvements ($200,000) -Skipper/46th Street from Bruce B. Downs to Fletcher ($2,000,000) -SouthCoast Greenway – Phase I design ($400,000) -Telecom Parkway extension ($750,000) -Bridge and guardrail rehabilitation ($1,000,000) -Pavement treatment program ($9,815,000) Stormwater – Funding is increased $6,640,000 in support of culvert replacements and neighborhood drainage improvements.  The funding increase more than doubles the normal annual funding for the program. Other Changes, Strategies, and information

  • A recurring pay increase of 3.5% is included in the budget.
  • There are no reductions in force included in the budget.
  • Reserves in the two general funds in FY 14 are held consistent with the FY 13 level.
  • $45,000 is budgeted for improvements to the ChamberlainHigh School track.  The School District will share in the cost of the improvements.
  • Funding of $1,700,000 is added to the County’s Historic Challenge Grant Program.  The program is designed to increase tourism in the TampaBay area.
  • $300,000 is budgeted for a pictometry initiative with the Property Appraiser, the Sheriff, the Planning Commission, SWFTMUD, the EPC, and potential additional partners.  Pictometry will provide detailed aerial photography of HillsboroughCounty which will have many applications based on the agency involved.  The Property Appraiser’s Office anticipates that the amount of taxable value added to the tax rolls through this project may result in the project paying for itself.
  • The budget commits $1.7 million as seed money in support of the creation of new strategically located Tax Increment Financing areas.
  • The budget increases funding to various nonprofit organizations by over $1 million in support of County core services including homelessness, nutrition, the arts,  and other social services programs.
  • Nearly 36,000 jobs have been added to the Tampa Bay Area Metro economy in the past year.
  • During FY 13, the Board adopted its new Strategic Plan with a focus on job creation and attracting and creating business growth.
  • The budget creates a new Strategic Planning & Grants department in support of the newly adopted Strategic Plan.

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For Immediate Release                                                         October 15, 2013 Contact:  District 1 Commissioner Murman’s Office, Jeffrey Huggins (813) 272-5470

Press Statement on Internet Sweepstakes Cafes from

Hillsborough County Commissioner Sandra L. Murman

Tampa, FL— Hillsborough County made a bold move almost two years ago to shutdown “Internet Sweepstakes Cafes,” that preyed on our most vulnerable citizens and veterans, and with the support of the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office and our County Code Enforcement, we were successful in shuttering nearly every one of the more than 50 locations that promoted illegal gambling. Last Friday evening, a Florida jury found Kelly Mathis, the lawyer for a ring of Internet sweepstake cafes guilty on 103 of 104 counts including racketeering and possession of an illegal slot machine or device. The verdict marked the conclusion of a criminal trial that is having major ramifications for a highly lucrative industry, which in recent years has been quietly spreading through small shopping centers across the nation. I believe this sends a strong message that illegal gambling activity in connection with these “Internet Sweepstakes Cafes,” will not be tolerated here or anywhere in the state of Florida. When I led the initiative to rid Hillsborough County of internet gambling, I received strong support from my fellow board members, who also believed this was an insidious “business,” and a plague on the entire Tampa Bay area. This past March, the Florida Department of Law Enforcement and other national, state and local law enforcement agencies took action and arrested nearly 60 people on charges of racketeering and money laundering in connection with Allied Veterans of the World’s illegal gambling activities at its hundreds of Sweepstakes Cafes in Florida. I applauded these arrests and we received the unwavering support of Florida’s Attorney General Pam Bondi, and within months the Florida Legislature passed legislation, which the Governor signed, making Sweepstakes Cafes illegal in Florida. I will continue to make every effort to ensure that our most vulnerable citizens and veterans in Hillsborough County are protected from exploitation by any organizations that are predatory and unregulated. We know that these actions taken by the courts will make our county a safe and healthy place for our children and families to live, work and play.

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For Immediate Release                                                            Contact:  Jeffrey Huggins October 10, 2013                                                                                                                    (813) 272-5470

County Commissioner Sandra L. Murman Lauds County Economic Development Staff, All Players in Official Announcement of Amazon Closing for South Hillsborough County

Tampa, FL— In an official announcement early this morning, Ryan Companies US, Inc. closed on the sale of the land in Ruskin in South Hillsborough County to USAA late yesterday.  USAA and Amazon have signed a long term lease and construction will be starting on site immediately. The new Amazon Fulfillment Center in Ruskin will create 375 new quality jobs with average annual wages of at least 115% of the State’s average wage. According to County Economic Development staff, the Fulfillment Center is expected to generate more than 1,000 permanent jobs, including the 375 jobs mentioned above, and create hundreds of additional seasonal temporary employment opportunities. The package also indicates that the improvements and equipment required for this project will result in Amazon making or causing to be made through a third party an investment of approximately $200 million. “This is bigger than landing the Super Bowl, a National Convention or the Olympics,” said Commissioner Sandy Murman, who represents Ruskin. “Because this is bringing more than 1,000 permanent jobs to South Hillsborough County, with nearly that many seasonal jobs every year, along with the construction jobs. It’s a mega-storm of growth that’s hitting our county with feeder bands that will create economic growth all over this area,” added Murman.

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Hillsborough County News Sept. 18, 2013 Media Contact: Kemly Jiménez Green, Communications and Digital Media Services Department, 813-276-2677   Hillsborough County Approves Purchase Of Bus Passes For The Transportation Disadvantaged   At their regular Board meeting today, the Hillsborough County Board of County Commissioners unanimously (7-0) approved a consent agenda item that allows the County’s Sunshine Line to continue their Bus Pass Program. The Bus Pass Program provides free daily and monthly Hillsborough Area Regional Transit Authority (HART) bus passes to more than 5,000 transportation disadvantaged residents per year. These bus passes are provided to those who qualify and travel within 3/4 of a mile of a HART bus route and are able to ride a HART bus. The Hillsborough County Sunshine Line provides door-to-door transportation and bus passes for elderly, low-income, and disabled persons who do not have or cannot afford their own transportation.  This service is provided primarily for client transportation to medical appointments and Aging Services day care and nutrition sites. Non-medical trips are provided on a space available basis. For additional information and qualification criteria, contact Hillsborough County Sunshine Line at 813-272-7272.

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As Florida jobless rate nudges lower, a closer look behind the numbers ROBERT TRIGAUX, Tampa Bay Times September 23, 2013 Florida’s monthly unemployment rate dipping in August from 7.1 to 7 percent is hardly a jaw-dropping change but at least moves us in the right direction. Here are 10 quick peeks behind these numbers to offer a broader sense of what’s happening in the job markets. 10. In the Tampa Bay area, Hillsborough County was the big job producer, employing 24,658 more in the past year (August to August), followed by Pinellas (+17,284), Pasco (+7,410), Hernando (+2,380) and Citrus (+1,247). 9. The pattern holds true for positions created in just the past month (August versus July 2013). Hillsborough created 1,798 jobs, followed by Pinellas (+1,260), Pasco (+540) and Hernando (+173), while Citrus lost 70 jobs. Month-to-month job comparisons mean less than year-to-year figures. 8. Nineteen of Florida’s 22 metro areas enjoyed over-the-year job gains in August. The winners: Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater (+3.6 percent), Fort Lauderdale-Pompano Beach-Deerfield Beach (+3.1 percent) and Orlando-Kissimmee-Sanford (+1.9 percent). 7. Three smaller metro areas lost jobs over the year: Panama City-Lynn Haven-Panama City Beach (-2,700 jobs, -3.6 percent), Palm Coast (-600 jobs, -2.9 percent) and Lakeland-Winter Haven (-300 jobs, -0.2 percent). 6. Statewide, Florida created 131,400 jobs in the past year, topped only by Texas (+274,700) and California (+223,900). 5. Better yet, Florida’s 1.6 percentage point drop in unemployment was the biggest decline of any state in the past year. 4. Not so great: Florida stumbled in the past month by losing 4,700 jobs from July to August this year. The largest over-the-month decrease in employment occurred in Georgia (-16,100), Ohio (-8,200) and Arizona (-7,900). 3. Nationally, August employment increased in 29 states, decreased in 20 states and the District of Columbia, and was unchanged in Montana. The largest over-the-month increases in employment occurred in New York (+30,400) and California (+29,100). 2. A factor in Florida’s unemployment rate declining slightly in August was a contraction in the state’s labor pool (more people stopped looking for work). Florida’s labor force in August was 9.39 million, compared with 9.40 million in July and 9.42 million in June. 1. In Florida over the past year, the industry gaining the most jobs was trade, transportation and utilities (+52,400 jobs, +3.4 percent). Right behind was tourism or “leisure and hospitality” (+21,900 jobs, +2.2 percent), professional and business services (+21,300 jobs, +2.0 percent) and construction (+19,500 jobs, +5.7 percent). The job losers? Total government employment fell (-5,800 jobs, -0.5 percent) as did manufacturing (-700 jobs, -0.2 percent) over the year. The manufacturing decline, while not big, is disturbing given all the buzz over Florida’s efforts to preserve and expand its modest manufacturing base. That includes the recent hype about “reshoring,” or bringing back manufacturing jobs once lost to cheaper overseas locations, as well as efforts (thanks to federal grants to Florida community colleges) to train more people in advanced manufacturing techniques. ###   For Immediate Release                                        Contact:  Jeffrey Huggins August 8, 2013                                                                         (813) 272-5470

County Commissioner Sandra L. Murman says today’s

Port incident underlines importance of emergency communication 

Tampa, FL— In response to questions from many of my constituents about a potential chemical spill at the Port of Tampa, I asked Preston Cook, the County’s Emergency Management Director yesterday at our Board of County Commissioners meeting, to bring back a full report on what system is in place to notify county residents. Specifically, as to notifying residents in Port Tampa, on Davis Islands, Harbour Island, in Downtown, Ybor City and South Tampa, when there is an incident like the ethanol train car derailment a few weeks ago at our Port or the Tavares gas plant explosions near Orlando recently. Ironically, less than 24 hours later, a fire started at Gulf Sulfur Services next to the Port of Tampa, and a plume of sulfur dioxide was released. I was encouraged by the response and actions today from the Hillsborough County Office of Emergency Management and other local agencies in connection with this hazardous materials incident. Today, our county emergency management director and Port officials were in contact with the county staff and our communications team, and while the City of Tampa was the lead responder on this, the county emergency operations was on call for support, and was briefed on what was happening. People on HarbourIsland, DavisIslands, Downtown, Channelside, TGH, and MacDill Air Force Base were notified through emergency email alerts from the county and the City of Tampa, and the media was also alerted. We are fortunate to have had these smaller recent events instead of something more disastrous, to facilitate the emergency communication process in HillsboroughCounty. I’m pleased with our progress, and I know our staff will work with the Port and the City of Tampa to improve the communications even more.

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ALL CLEAR – Safety Alert Lifted Update On Safety Alert from the City of Tampa for the downtown Tampa area – Channelside, Harbour Island, Davis Island areas.   All clear in the Port of Tampa! Tampa Fire Rescue has extinguished a small fire in a silo that caused the chemical fumes. The situation is under control and all fumes have dissipated. The shelter in place order is lifted for downtown residents.   “This notification has been delivered to you by the City of Tampa’s emergency notification system “ALERT TAMPA”. There is no cost to the citizens of Tampa for subscription to this service. Additional addresses and telephone numbers can be registered at www.tampagov.net/alerttampa ”   Residents can sign up to receive emergency alerts from Hillsborough County by going to: http://www.hillsboroughcounty.org/list.aspx   Please see the Safety Alert from the City of Tampa for the downtown Tampa area – Channelside, Harbour Island, Davis Island areas.   All citizens in the southside of downtown (Channelside, Harbour Island, Davis Island areas) are urged to shelter in place due to chemical fumes coming from the Port of Tampa. Tampa Fire Rescue is working to identify the fumes and contain them. Residents of Channelside and Harbour Island are encouraged to stay indoors. They may experience irritation of the eyes, nose and respiratory track, which can lead to headaches and dizziness. This is a precautionary measure while Tampa Fire Rescue works to resolve this issue. We will provide updates as soon as they become available.   “This notification has been delivered to you by the City of Tampa’s emergency notification system “ALERT TAMPA”. There is no cost to the citizens of Tampa for subscription to this service. Additional addresses and telephone numbers can be registered at www.tampagov.net/alerttampa ”   Residents can sign up to receive emergency alerts from Hillsborough County by going to: http://www.hillsboroughcounty.org/list.aspx   Hillsborough County News Aug. 5, 2013 Media Contact: Kemly Jiménez Green, Communications and Digital Media Services, 813-276-2677   Closures For Parks And Preserves Due to High Water Several County Preserves, the Lithia Springs swimming area, and two canoe launches are temporarily closed to the public due to high water. Preserves It is anticipated that these preserve entrances will remain closed until the first week of October.

  • Pam Callahan Preserve, 5750 Memorial Highway in Tampa
  • Cypress Creek Preserve, 3298 Robertson Trail in Lutz and all areas north of Freedom High School
  • Lake Frances Preserve, 11009 Tarpon Springs Road in Odessa and 10339 Woodstock Road in Odessa
  • Lake Dan Preserve, 19136-B Tyler Road in Odessa
  • Double Branch Bay Preserve, 11382 W Hillsborough Ave. (eastern gate) in Tampa; 11912 W. Hillsborough Ave. (middle gate) in Tampa; and 12460 W. Hillsborough Ave. (western gate) in Tampa
  • Florida College Preserve, 9514 Woodland Ridge Drive in Temple Terrace
  • Town and Country Preserve, 8304 Montague St. in Tampa
  • Brooker Creek Headwaters Preserve, 6440 W. Lutz Lake Fern Road in Lutz; 18102 Ramblewood Road (public parking area) in Lutz; 17917 Brown Road in Odessa; and 18011 Ramblewood Road (gate on east side of road) in Lutz
  • Rocky Creek Coastal Preserve (except for offshore areas), 8899 S Lagoon St. in Tampa; and 5120 Troydale Road in Tampa

Regional Parks Updated information will be provided as it becomes available.

  • Lithia Springs Park’s swimming area and canoe launch, 3932 Lithia Springs Road in Lithia

Signs have been posted, and staff is on duty to monitor and alert the public of this closure. Patrons can still camp, picnic and use the playground.

  • Alderman’s Ford Park’s canoe launch area, 9625 Canoe Launch Loop in Lithia

For additional information on the preserves, contact the 813-264-8513, for information on the regional parks, contact 813-744-5572. ###   Hillsborough County News July 31, 2013 Contact: Michelle Van Dyke, Communications & Digital Media Services, 813-272-5305; Cell: 813-695-1330   Hillsborough County Lawn Watering Returns To Twice A Week, Effective Aug. 1 Beginning Thursday (Aug. 1), Hillsborough County residents will have two days a week to water their lawns, instead of one. The Southwest Florida Water Management District’s Governing Board voted on Tuesday to let all water shortage orders expire today (July 31). With this action, Hillsborough County returns to its usual year-round restrictions. The Governing Board allowed the water shortage orders to expire in response to significant improvements in aquifer and river levels as a result of this summer’s above-average rainfall. The region’s major public water suppliers have also been able to capture and store large supplies of water to meet the needs of residents. Effective Thursday (Aug. 1), the new schedule for watering established lawns and landscaping in unincorporated Hillsborough County, as well as the City of Tampa, is:

  • Addresses ending in 0, 1, 2 or 3 – Mondays and Thursdays
  • Addresses ending in 4, 5 or 6 – Tuesdays and Fridays
  • Addresses ending in 7, 8 or 9 – Wednesdays and Saturdays
  • Locations with no address (common areas) and locations with mixed addresses (such as office complexes and shopping centers) – Wednesdays and Saturdays

All watering must be done before 8 a.m. or after 6 p.m., and only once on your designated days. The restrictions apply to all residents – not just customers of public utilities – and most water sources. That includes private wells, and ponds or lakes that are used as alternate irrigation supplies. Reclaimed water customers are exempt from the water restrictions, although these customers are encouraged to use only what they need. Hand Watering – Hand-watering and low-volume irrigation of plant material other than lawns or turfgrass may be done on any day and at any time. New Sod and Landscaping – New sod and landscaping may be watered on any day for the first 30 days. On days 31-60, new sod and landscaping may be watered approximately every other day: even-numbered addresses on Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday; odd-numbered addresses, locations with no address and locations with mixed addresses on Monday, Wednesday and Saturday. All watering of new sod and landscaping must be done before 8 a.m. or after 6 p.m. An irrigation system zone can only be operated if the new sod or plant material covers at least 50 percent of that zone. Decorative Fountains, Car Washing, Pressure Washing – No restrictions. For More Information

  • For complete information on these and other water rules in unincorporated Hillsborough County,  as well as links to information from the cities of Tampa, Plant City and Temple Terrace, visit www.HillsboroughCounty.org/Water.
  • For a recorded message about the restrictions, call 813-275-7094.
  • For other questions, call the Water Conservation Team at 813-272-5977, ext. 43991, during regular business hours.

*******     Commissioner Murman quoted in this WTSP Channel 10 news story about Amazon.com:   Commissioner Murman says Amazon will be a “mega-storm of job growth for our region”

3:29 PM, Jun 19, 2013   |

Eric Glasser 10 News: WTSP Tampa, FL — You get the feeling if Amazon.com were single, the Hillsborough County Commission would be getting down on its knee to propose. “I think what we are approving today is a very small dowry a potential great corporate community marriage,” said Commissioner Kevin Beckner. Board chair Ken Hagan agreed. “This is an outstanding opportunity,” he said. And County Commissioner Sandy Murman likened it it to a hurricane with Amazon’s feeder-bands attracting more businesses, creating a mega-storm of job growth for our region. “This is fiscal responsibility,” said Murman. On Wednesday commissioners started the ball rolling to turn an empty field in Ruskin into a mega-warehouse fulfillment center at the South Shore corporate park. To do that, they voted unanimously to designate Amazon as a “Qualified Target Industry” or QTI. They also offered generous tax incentives, but with strings attached. “The company has to deliver on a promise before any payments are made by this county,” said Economic Development Director Ron Barton. That promise? Amazon has vowed to create 1,000 jobs… 375 of which would be higher-wage, higher quality positions. In exchange, Amazon gets $225,000 spread out over four years. But the bigger incentive is a huge ad-valorem tax break for six years once the center opens in 2016. The 50% reduction in property taxes is worth about a million dollars annually. Critics question why small business aren’t offered such breaks and whether the incentives are really a good deal. Amazon’s lower-paying jobs, they argue, could also increase reliance on subsidized housing and tax-payer funded social services. “The board is starting down a slippery slope of giving tax benefits to a select few at the expense of the taxpayers of Hillsborough County,” said Elizabeth Belcher from Seffner. But county officials say right now, the proposed site is just unimproved property generating almost no taxes. So they say even half of the estimated $1.8 million a year Amazon would pay is a welcome infusion for the county’s coffers. “I don’t see any downside here whatsoever,” said Commissioner Victor Crist. There will likely be more criticism for the proposed ad-valorem tax break when the public is invited to comment during a meeting on the proposal, Wednesday July 17. *********** Free Help for South Tampa Business Owners Linda Hersey, South Tampa Patch June 12, 2013 South Tampa companies are fortunate to operate in a pro-business region. With support from the county, USF and the state, South Tampa and other Tampa Bay businesses can tap into a network of free help, training and resources. There are opportunities to learn about winning government contracts, harnessing the power of social media or understanding the ins and outs of financing. Here are 5 ways to tap free assistance for South Tampa small business owners: 1.)   Hillsborough County Small Business Information Center: Free individual and confidential business counseling, workshops and seminars. Address: 7402 N. 56th St., Building 400, Suite 425, Tampa, FL 33617; phone: 813-914-4028. 2.) University of South Florida Small Business Development Center: USF has a wealth of resources and training, some of it for a fee. But the center has tools, strategies and expertise at no cost to qualified small- and medium-sized businesses. Address: 1101 Channelside Dr. Ste 210, Tampa, FL 33602. Phone: 813-905-5800. 3.) With MacDill Air Force Base so close by, it may be beneficial to learn about how to compete for government contracts, if you believe your business may provide needed goods or services. PTAC, or the Procurement & Technical Assistance Center,  helps Florida businesses land contracts with state and federal agencies. You can download free tools, tips and information. 4.) The University of Tampa Naimoli Institute for Business Strategy, 401 W. Kennedy Blvd., Tampaoffers long-term strategy assistance to business owners and managers through the institute’s Strategic Analysis Program, which has performed more than 650 comprehensive consultations for businesses across Tampa Bay since 1993. Phone: 813-258-7441 5.)   SCORE of Hillsborough County, 7402 N 56th St, Ste 350 Tampa, has a corps of volunteer retired business executives willing to offer free advice as well as training and workshops. Phone: 813-988-1435 ********  

Florida unemployment drops; Tampa Bay leads state in job growth

Drew Harwell, Times Staff Writer Friday, March 29, 2013 10:21am Tampa Bay led the state in new hires last month as Florida’s job market brightened, with the state’s unemployment rate dipping to its lowest point in four years. About 10,000 jobs were added locally last month, sinking Tampa Bay’s jobless rate from 8 percent to 7.4 percent in one month, state data released Friday show. With 33,000 jobs added since February 2012, Tampa Bay’s year-over-year job growth bested every metro area in the state. Work forces swelled in every local county, including hard-hit Hernando, where last month’s unemployment rate was more than 3 percentage points below where it was a year ago. “The Tampa to Orlando corridor will be an important one when it comes to job growth,” University of Central Florida economist Sean Snaith said. “This bodes well for the future of the region. But we still have a lot of ground to make up.” The state added 7,800 jobs last month as unemployment sunk to 7.7 percent, down from January’s revised rate of 7.9 percent. Florida has extended its year-over-year hiring gains to 31 months in a row. Gov. Rick Scott said Friday in Orlando that efforts to cut taxes and pay down state debt were paying off. With “nearly 300,000 private sector jobs created over the last two years, we have proof that it’s working,” Scott said. State unemployment has not been this low since October 2008, when it was 7.4 percent. But of the state’s 9.4 million-strong labor force, 729,000 remain out of work. In a typical healthy economy, Florida’s jobless rate would fall below 6 percent. The unemployment rate doesn’t count the thousands of Floridians who have stopped looking for work. Though the Sunshine State gained 217,000 adults over the last year, data show, the labor force gained only 92,000 jobs. Many of those now sitting on the sidelines could start looking for work again, dragging down the recovering job market. About 10,000 jobs were added in Tampa Bay last month, though 100,000 remained out of work. Local numbers, which are not tweaked for seasonal changes, are regarded as less reliable than the state’s seasonally adjusted figures. The lion’s share of new Florida jobs were in leisure and hospitality, though retailers, health care and professional services like accounting and technical consulting also gained thousands of jobs. Workplaces with the biggest gains in new jobs last month included colleges and universities, tax preparation offices, and amusement parks and arcades. Courier and messenger firms and stores selling sporting goods, books and music, counted the highest rates of job losses last month. About 11,000 government jobs have been cut since last February. Drew Harwell can be reached at dharwell@tampabay.com or (727) 893-8252. ****** Click on the title link below to watch this video of the Steps Forward dedication ceremony of Cypress Landing, a 24-unit apartment building that is providing a home for the most chronic homeless in Hillsborough County. Sandy is a founding member of the group: Building Dedication to solve Chronic Homelessness in Hillsborough County   Times article in the Bay Buzz, and attached statement: Murman issues statement on Allied Veterans’ sweepstakes cafe investigation Bill Varian, Times Staff Writer Wednesday, March 13, 2013 6:44pm Hillsborough County commissioner Sandy Murman, who pushed for a crackdown on internet sweepstakes cafes locally, issued a statement Wednesday praising state and federal authorities for their racketeering investigating into one of the larger state operators, Allied Veterans of the World. Law enforcement has arrested nearly 60 people associated with the Florida-based non-profit this week on charges that include illegal gambling, racketeering and money laundering. Investigators say the company tried to scheme and defraud the public and government agencies by misrepresenting how much it donated to the Veterans Administration. Lt. Gov. Jennifer Carroll abruptly resigned Tuesday after law enforcement questioned her about ties to the non-profit. She owned a public relations firm that did work for Allied Veterans. Murman pushed for and won support for a new ordinance that effectively outlawed internet sweepstakes cafes in Hillsborough County or at least made it difficult for them to operate, resulting in most of them closing. “We trust that actions taken by local, state and federal agents will make our county a safe and healthy place for our children and families to live, work and play,” her statement says. Read the statement here: March 13, 2013 Friends: I am encouraged by the recent events and actions by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement and other national, state and local law enforcement agencies in connection with charges of racketeering and money laundering against Allied Veterans of the World’s illegal gambling activities in connection with what are commonly known as “Internet Sweepstakes Cafes.” Recently, I led the initiative to rid Hillsborough County of internet gambling.  With majority support from my fellow board members, we were successful in banning these simulated gambling devices which function much like slot machines and were at the heart of a quickly spreading form of this insidious “business.” Sweepstakes cafes typically sold phone cards or Internet access to people who then logged into a computer at the business to play a slot machine-style game and to find out if they won money. Before we passed the ban in Hillsborough County, there were more than 50 locations.  A map created by the Hillsborough Sheriff’s office, identified many of these businesses in unincorporated Hillsborough and many more cafes popped up within a few days of publication of the map. Last year we amended the ordinance to cover café businesses that were attempting to skirt the law. Since then, nearly all of them have closed their doors. Moving forward, I will continue to follow these matters closely as well as make every effort to ensure that our most vulnerable citizens and veterans in Hillsborough County are protected from exploitation by these predatory, unregulated and untaxed organizations. We trust that actions taken by local, state and federal agents will make our county a safe and healthy place for our children and families to live, work and play. Sandra L. Murman Vice Chair, County Commission, District 1 ###