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  PBA uses this blog to post individual articles from our monthly newsletters. Members can comment on these articles.
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  • 05/15/2011 6:25 PM | Anonymous
    In our March Newsletter we provided an update about the Pensacola Beach tax lawsuits. Basically, two of the Pensacola Beach law suits first filed in 2004 when property taxes were assessed on leasehold improvements are still active in the Florida court system. Oral arguments in our appeal were heard by the First District Court of Appeal in Tallahassee on February 15th.  The Court has yet to issue an opinion.

    Last week, the First District Court of Appeal issued an opinion in the Navarre Beach case known as Accardo v. Brown (Case No.1D10-4072).  The Court agreed with the trial court that the Navarre Beach leaseholders are the equitable owners of both the real property (land) and improvements and are subject to ad valorem taxes as such.  This is not good news for the Pensacola Beach plaintiffs who can expect to be taxed on the land in addition to the improvements in 2011. 

    Many of the plaintiffs in the Pensacola Beach case who are not paying taxes received a DELINQUENT NOTICE from the Tax Collector, Janet Holley, in the mail last week.  The Court has issued a stay order preventing Ms. Holley from collecting the ad valorem taxes assessed by the Property Appraiser until the Court has taken final action in this case. 

    Plaintiffs in this case are not required to pay the taxes until all Court action is final.  A tax certificate cannot be issued.  The law does allow for 12 percent simple interest per year to be assessed on back taxes if the court determines the tax to be legal.  The interest rate has been included in the amounts shown on the Delinquent Notice. Some plaintiffs have chosen to pay back taxes because the accrued interest is getting high – but are not required to until the case is settled.

    Anyone who chooses to pay the taxes to avoid further accumulation of interest can do so without jeopardizing their standing in this case.  There is a provision in Florida law for a refund in the event the Court rules in our favor.  

    We will continue to keep you updated. You can also visit the official website for the Pensacola Beach Taxation Lawsuit at www.pbeachtaxsuit.com.

  • 05/15/2011 6:24 PM | Anonymous

    If the Escambia County Appraiser ever gets the legal right to tax both the land and improvements on Pensacola Beach, then the county intends to offer fee simple title to the Beach leaseholders.  The draft Federal legislation to allow this to happen includes language that prohibits the County from obtaining a windfall profit by “selling” the land to the leaseholders, but the draft Federal legislation does not address some other important issues.

    On May 5th, the Escambia Board of County commissioners will vote on a resolution that spells out their intent with respect to how fee simple title will be offered to Pensacola Beach leaseholders.  That resolution will state that:

    • Wherever possible, fee simple title will be offered directly to sub-lessees.
    • Lease fees will be eliminated for all leaseholders, including those that do not accept fee simple title.
    • The County will maintain an entity (replacing the SRIA, but as yet undefined) on Pensacola Beach to provide the current level of service in the areas of public safety, maintenance and recreational promotion.
    • There is no intention to amend the Pensacola Beach’s portion of the Escambia County Master Plan, rezone residential lots for commercial or condominium development, or alter the residential building cap.

    The PBA thinks it is important for the BOCC to express their intent on these issues, and we are very pleased to see the BOCC take this important step.  It clarifies many matters for beach leaseholders and charts a path for the future. Thanks to Matt Dannheiser and the PBA committee members who helped make this happen. And be sure to thank Grover Robinson for his support the next time you see him.

    Update: In May 2011, the Escambia County Commissioners adopted a resolution stating their intent on how they would implement fee simple title on Pensacola Beach. We are happy to report that PBA’s four points were approved unanimously. It provides a roadmap for implementing fee simple title and protects the Beach from over development. It does not bind future Boards from making other decisions, but it sets a benchmark. Don’t let your guard down!

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