Recently PBA President Terry Preston contacted US Senators Bill Nelson and Marco Rubio encouraging them to sponsor a bill in the Senate that would grant leaseholders on Santa Rosa Island with fee simple title. A companion bill was sponsored by Congressman Jeff Miller in February where it did pass the US House.
At this point the County and the SRIA don't have plans to reduce lease fees to a nominal amount ($1) until all of the pending tax lawsuits are still active. There is still an active lawsuit by the Portofino homeowners.
Please take a few minutes to send an email to our Florida Senators asking them to consider this legislation during their short session after Labor Day. Contact info is at the bottom of this article. You may want to also contact Jeff Miller to thank him for his efforts.
And we thank the current and past PBA board members who worked with the local government leaders to draft this legislation two years ago in preparation that we could lose our appeals in the Supreme Court.
Here is the letter that was sent to both Senators.
As President of the Pensacola Beach Advocates, I would like to urge you on behalf of our
450 members and the 3800 Pensacola Beach leaseholders, to sponsor a companion bill in the Senate to H.R2954, the Santa Rosa Island Title Fairness and Land Preservation Act. At our urging and that of our local government officials, Congressman Jeff Miller sponsored this legislation and it passed the House of Representatives on February 6, 2014 and was referred to the Senate on February 10, 2014. It has since been referred to the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, who have taken no action.
Since passage of H.R. 2954, we have been notified by the Florida Supreme Court that taxation of our leasehold improvements will stand, leaving many on our small island with significant tax bills, continuing lease fees, and no ownership of the property that they are being taxed for. This bill would allow our local government to convey fee simple title to the developed leaseholds on Santa Rosa Island, thus paving the way to end leases and reduce the burden of double taxation on many residents, some of whom are on fixed incomes.
This bill also remedies some issues that are silent in the legislation that originally conveyed Santa Rosa Island to Escambia County. It guarantees that all public lands that are currently held for conservation, recreation or preservation will continue so in PERPETUITY, thus preventing our beautiful natural island resources from being developed in future years. Please take action to pass companion legislation in this Congress and prove to your constituents that we have a Congress that can take bipartisan action!
President, Pensacola Beach Advocates
Contact Senator Marco Rubio: http://www.rubio.senate.gov/public/index.cfm/contact
Contact Senator Bill Nelson: http://www.billnelson.senate.gov/contact-bill
Contact Congressman Jeff Miller: https://jeffmiller.house.gov/contact/contactform.htm