In 2016 a lot was going on.
There was a campaign going on, and it was drawing lots of attention.
There were local campaigns, and folks were pre-occupied with a lot of stuff.
I had my hands full with my own campaign for BCC in 2016. I was busy. We all were busy. I wasn't on the Board of County Commissioners yet.
Amid this backdrop, two very important things happened that will cost Escambia County Taxpayers a TON of money going forward... How much, you ask? How about this. Get Ready.
This is a tremendous sum of money and the taxpayers should not have been subjected to this steep a loss---but the deal is done, it happened, and there is no going back and unwinding it.
This is what we lost..... But how did this happen??
Two condominium complexes on Pensacola Beach "Re-Negotiated" new 99 year leases at ridiculously LOW per year, per unit lease fee rates for their respective Gulf-Front properties in 2016.
The immediate impact is the lease fees for these properties are significantly less than what similar properties in Perdido Key are paying. When one looks at the delta between what similar properties in Perdido Key pay and what these two complexes in Pensacola Beach will pay--it is inconceivable to the average person....how could this have been allowed to happen? How?
|There's a huge delta between Pensacola Beach property tax payments and what similar properties in Perdido key, above, pay.|
Because we don't have a time machine and we cannot go back after the fact and "unwind" these deals-the only thing we can and should do going forward is to learn from our mistake. We should never, ever allow the taxpayers to be treated so badly. Ever.
So how do we fix this going forward? Here is what I propose....
From now on, ANY new lease with SRIA, any renegotiated lease, should be required to be either
A. Perpetually renewing, which courts have determined will pay ad valorem taxes on property and improvements
B. Renegotiable at 99 year increments--which will preclude ad-valorem taxation. But such leases will, and should, however, pay a MARKET RATE lease fee to SRIA for the land portion of the property, complete with escalation clauses worked into the renewal to insure the lease fees keep pace with inflation.
It has to be one or the other, this is only fair. It can never again be a re-negotiable lease with a lease fee that is at the 1946 level. This is nothing but a ripoff. So we have to fix it by allowing the lessee to pick between two options as I have listed above.
If we do this, we will never, ever, again be taken to the cleaners like we were with the Beach Club and Emerald Isle Condo lease renewals in 2016.
We will fix this, it is time, and it is fair.