Chamber Advocacy Update – February 24, 2015


As part of your Chamber Business Advocacy Committee’s goal of monitoring, informing, communicating and advocating on your behalf regarding important issues impacting local businesses, listed below are highlights for the upcoming local government meetings during the week of February 23rd. Chamber representatives will participate in support of your business and joining with our partners toward enhancing our region’s economic climate.

Below you will find a brief description of those issues on the public agenda that you may find of special interest.

City of Tallahassee Commission Meeting (Feb. 25th)

The next City of Tallahassee Commissioners regular meeting is scheduled for Wednesday February 25th at 4 p.m. in the Commission Chambers of City Hall. Additional information regarding all City agenda issues (such as those highlighted below) can be found in the full City agenda at:

The City Commission has a few notable action items on the agenda that are of interest to the business community, including:

  • Item 9.02 seeks the appropriation of an additional $300,000 to cover for the City’s portion of new outside legal fees for the litigation of an ongoing challenge to the City’s current collection method for their Fire Services Fee (the key revenue stream that supports expenditures for this critical public safety and first responder service in our community).  Presently, this collection method utilizes the City’s utility bills to invoice customers.  The legal challenge (reported upon previously in the Local Government Update) argues that non-property owning city utility customers (ie. Renters) should not be required to pay this fee.  The new appropriation for legal services is in addition to previously expended fees of $540,000.  It is anticipated that this legal challenge will have significant activity during 2015 thus requiring the new investment.  Of note, the appropriation is requested to be performed as an internal “loan” to be repaid by future fire service fee revenues.  As this lawsuit creates fiscal exposure to the fund supporting fire services, as well as challenges who should pay for this fee (with a corresponding possible fiscal impact upon some businesses), this is an item the Chamber continues to monitor closely.
  • Item 9.12 seeks to invest an additional $1.7M into needed stormwater and sanitary sewer improvements (with significant reallocation of other funds) across our community including in the Eastgate, Gaines Street and Madison Street areas.
  • Item 11.02 presents for full Commission approval the proposed State and Federal Legislative Priorities of the City for the year ahead and as session approaches.  Proposals are broad and range from gaining key state and federal funding for top ranked infrastructure projects to supporting new human services programming for children.
  • Item 12.02 introduces an ordinance (set for public hearing on March 25th) that would update City regulations on transportation network applications companies such as Uber.
  • Item 13.02 seeks policy direction on a  staff request to seek proposals to install a 10 megawatt Solar Photo Voltaic Project (Solar Farm) under the City’s utility system to further diversify the City’s portfolio of (eco-friendly) options to generate electrical power for sale to their customers.  As prices for these systems have dropped with reliability improvements on the rise, the City staff has determined that the market may be friendly for such an acquisition at this time.  Of note, there is some initial analysis related to what level of third party involvement to incorporate into any such new initiative.  At present, the City staff appears to be favoring limited third party involvement in this upcoming process and to maintain the direct City-to-Customer client model that exists today.
  • Item 13.09 weighs into a larger ecological and energy related hot topic, nationally, by seeking to approve a resolution supporting a statewide ban of hydraulic fracturing (“fracking”) within the State of Florida.  Non-binding upon the ultimate regulators for this activity, it would send a strong message to decision-makers about our community’s stance upon this state level matter.

Please don’t hesitate to contact me with any further questions you may have about this content and/or the Chamber’s comprehensive set of activities to Monitor, Inform, Engage and Advocate on behalf of the Greater Tallahassee business community through the Chamber’s Business Advocacy Committee.

On behalf of your Business Advocacy Committee,

Benjamin H. Pingree, MPA
Vice President, Business Retention/Expansion & Public Policy

Seeking to monitor, inform, communicate and engage for the benefit of our members, businesses and economic good.