Home' Island Sun : ISN 072415 Contents ISLAND SUN - JULY 24, 2015
Sound Government Contributes
To Economic Growth In Florida
By sustaining high-quality local services and holding down property taxes while
attracting new business, cities across Northwest Florida and around the state
maintained steady economic growth in 2014, according to the latest State of
the Cities report released last week by the Florida League of Cities.
“An important part of our continued growth over the past year was no secret
– slow but steady was the approach to sound municipal government,” said Florida
League of Cities President Matt Surrency, who is mayor of Hawthorne. “Florida’s
growing population requires that municipal governments be responsive to the citizens
they serve, and we are ensuring that our residents, new and old, will remain here for
years to come.”
The League’s Center for Municipal Research and Innovation produced the annual
report. It shows that statewide, the total amount of municipal property taxes fell by
more than 3 percent in the 2012-13 fiscal year compared with the previous year,
reflecting at least four straight years of overall declines in municipal property tax collec-
The report also shows the majority of building permits issued by cities around the
state are issued in smaller communities, not the big urban areas. Of the 113,426
municipal building permits issued in 2012-13, a total of 52 percent were issued in cit-
ies with fewer than 60,000 residents.
Municipal leaders throughout Florida were able to take advantage of various eco-
nomic development incentives in order to attract businesses. More than half of the
smallest cities – those with populations of fewer than 5,000 – used community redevel-
opment agencies to create a framework for population growth and public projects. In
addition, many cities worked to lower developer costs by offering expedited permitting.
Among the information provided in the 2014 State of the Cities report:
• Economic Development – Cities with smaller populations were far less likely to
provide economic development incentives: only 60 percent of municipalities with
fewer than 60,000 people utilized incentives of any kind, compared to 94 percent of
cities with greater than 60,000 people. Additionally, job incentives, which were offered
by over half of larger cities, were offered by only 12 percent of smaller ones.
• Taxes/Revenue – Property taxes make up an average of 17 percent of cities’ rev-
enue stream. Property tax collections fell 3.12 percent, but the growth in population
led to an overall 3.3 percent increase in municipal income to pay for public services.
As a result of this increase, nearly two thirds of municipalities were able to give raises
to their staff, and the remaining third were able to hold staff pay steady.
• Water – Florida remains at the forefront of the nation in providing quality-of-life
amenities to its citizens. According to the report, 65 percent of cities offer water ser-
vices for residents. This is actually slightly down from the previous year’s 69 percent,
a change that created an opportunity for water-rich municipalities to provide water
services to other areas. Two out of five cities provide water or wastewater services to
• Infrastructure – In addition to water, Florida continues to be a leader in providing
municipal services. One in ten cities provides a health clinic for its employees, and a
small but growing percentage provide electric and natural gas services. Additionally,
most cities – 85 percent, in fact – provide solid waste collection, and 72 percent pro-
vide recycling services. These efforts ensure that Florida cities and the areas around
their beaches, rivers and lakes remain clean.
• Housing – 76.1 percent of the 113,426 building permits issued in Florida cities
last year were residential. Of those residential permits, most were issued for building
single-family units. Surprisingly, however, multi-family units accounted for more than
35 percent of permits in cities with fewer than 5,000 people, compared to only 25
percent in cities with populations of more than 60,000.
• Parks and Services – Florida continues to be a leader in promoting tourism and
active lifestyles: 91 percent of cities provide municipal parks, many of which consist
of beach access points, and 17 percent provide a city-run marina. Most municipali-
ties – 85 percent, in fact – provide solid waste collection directly or through third-party
agreements, ensuring that Florida cities and the areas around their beaches, rivers and
lakes remain clean.
The State of the Cities report notes that as of last year, Florida’s population of
more than 19 million people was evenly divided between those who live in cities,
towns or villages and those who live in unincorporated areas. The populations of these
cities vary greatly, from more than 800,000 residents in Jacksonville to fewer than 10
in Weeki Wachee.
The full State of the Cities report and results of the 2014 CityStats Survey are avail-
able online at www.floridaleagueofcities.com/Assets/Files/2014StateoftheCities.pdf.
Contact Liane Schrader at LSchrader@flcities.com or 850-222-9684 for more infor-
mation or to request a printed copy of the report.
by Barb Cacchione
advise my clients
to follow their
heart. As an inte-
rior decorator, my
the fact sometimes
are not always the same as your favorite
colors. But when some sound thought
is considered when planning for a new
color scheme, generally your heart’s
color desires will rule supreme! And as
most people have discovered, planning
a color scheme is a carefully thought out
I suggest that my clients follow five
easy steps in assessing their space for a
new color scheme.
First, decide where your best oppor-
tunities are for using color. Will painting
one wall in an accent color give your
room the spark you desire? Or perhaps,
a soft blending of similar color hues will
give your new room it’s desired “feeling
Then, take a critical look at your
room’s architectural features. Do you
want them to stand out, take center stage
or be minimized? For instance, perhaps
you have painted bookshelves flanking a
room’s fireplace. Adding an accent color
to the back walls of your bookshelves
might add just a bit of much needed color
flair to the entire wall scheme.
Thirdly, try to definite how your space
is being used. Reading, relaxing, game
playing or watching TV? An important
consideration in selecting your new color
scheme is how you actually use and enjoy
Next, analyze your room’s lighting.
How much natural light does your room
have? A room with a lot of artificial light
will definitely call for a different color plan
than one with a lot of natural light.
And last, but not least, it’s critical that
you take into account your “new” room’s
relationship to the other rooms in your
home. Color continuity is key to creating
the overall look most people desire for
Barb Cacchione is an interior design-
er on Sanibel/Captiva Islands. She can
be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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