Tuesday, September 18, 2012


(Click Above to Sign Petition)

It is widely known for a downtown to survive and prosper, infrastructure must be improved to entice customers to patronize local businesses.  One of the improvements, which is always on the top of minds of Fort Walton Beach Downtown business owners, is the need for a Parking Garage to accommodate their present and future needs of their customers.  Not only will this accommodate the business owners, it will attract many new customers to the historic downtown area to enjoy a great shopping experience, which many have not had. It is also understood to attract investors, developers, restaurant, and retail owners, the City must invest in infrastructure improvements, such as a Parking Garage, to further entice investment in the City of Fort Walton Beach.  Why is this important now?  In today's financial world, the opportunity to find a lending source willing to invest in a community is few and far between.  With a Lender willing to loan over $25M to the Developers of the Landmark Center today, a Tax Increment Financing (TIF) source will be created over a 12-14 year period to pay for the construction of the Parking Garage only, which will be accessible to the public at no charge.  If the Landmark Center Project with Parking Garage is not constructed the TIF is not created.   Not only has the developer found a Lender to loan the money for the project, the developer will also assume the Design, Construction, Management, and Maintenance of the Parking Garage for the life of the project and at NO COST TO THE CITY.   When you have a Lending Institution interested in investing in your area, you should not only open the door, you need to invite them in and welcome them with open arms.  If not, they have the tendency to move on to another location. 

Petition Letter

I'm writing to plead with the City Council of Fort Walton Beach to support the investment of Tax Increment Funding created by the Landmark Center Project Development to assist in the construction of the adjacent Parking Garage which will be accessible to all of the public so they may enjoy the Downtown businesses. This public/private venture is a unique opportunity for residents, tourist, and guests to visit the businesses of the Historic Downtown District Fort Walton Beach to help stimulate growth in this area and relieve the tax burden on the City of Fort Walton Beach and their citizens. The investment in our downtown business district will have a number of other financial benefits, which comes with economic growth, such as reduce crime, increase investment, and sense of pride that will be seen by hundreds of thousands of passerby’s.

With the Developers designing, managing, and maintaining the Parking Garage for the life of the Development at no extra cost to the City, it is without a doubt one of the best investments the City of Fort Walton Beach can make to benefit our community.

We can’t afford to continue to pass up opportunities to improve our City. This opportunity does not exist if the Developers don’t invest $25M in our community and I hope the City Council and other responsible parties understand the need to make this investment and others which will bring this project to completion.


Thursday, September 6, 2012


Senator Nelson visits the Military Officers of Northwest Florida and speaks on a number of issues, such as sequestration, Eglin AFB, and RETORE ACT.  For real estate developers in Northwest Florida, the latter is very important.  Senator Nelson noted a bi-partisan delegation past a law overwhelming which will require BP Oil to pay the 5 affected states in fines, billions of dollars to address the environmental and economic damages caused by the BP Oil Spill.  It was noted, with the profits made by BP, these fines will not adversely affect them and they expect them to be paid in the near future.   

Sen. Nelson calls for more cooperation in Washington

2012-09-05 17:24:26
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U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson is asking for more bipartisanship in Washington and a less “my way or the highway” attitude to move the country forward.  Nelson was the guest speaker Wednesday at the Northwest Florida Military Officers Association meeting at Northwest Florida Regional Airport. He discussed the threat of sequestration, health care reform and the challenges of being in Washington when elected officials are more divided by party lines than they have been in decades.  “This is a different time in politics. I’ve never seen it like this before,” said Nelson, a Democrat who faces Republican Connie Mack IV in the Nov. 6 election. “There’s a lot of intolerance out there, a lot of intolerance that they don’t want to hear the other fella’s point of view. And you can’t run a country with that mindset. The beauty of this country and our constitutional system is that you respect the other fella’s point of view and then you work out your differences.  “Remember in the old days where partisan politics stopped at the water’s edge?” Nelson said. “On anything that had to do with foreign affairs or national defense, it was always bipartisan. When I went in as a young congressman, that’s the way it was. A lot of that’s gone now and we’ve got to get it back.”  Nelson said there have been recent examples of the two parties working together.  He used as examples the RESTORE Act, which guarantees 80 percent of all penalties BP pays for violating the Oil Pollution Control Act go to the five Gulf Coast states most affected by the Deepwater Horizon oil spill of 2010, and the Veterans Skill Act, which makes it easier for veterans to receive civilian credentials in the same field as their military training.  Nelson said he is confident that $1 trillion in defense cuts from sequestration scheduled to be implemented next year can be avoided, but it will take both parties working together.  Although he does not expect that to happen before the general election, Nelson said he believes new budget reforms can be decided during the lame-duck session of Congress that starts a week later.  “We’re not going to let sequestration go into effect,” Nelson said. “We’re going to have to come up with a budget solution (on tax and spending reforms) as I have outlined here because you can’t take a half trillion out of defense and not hurt our defense preparedness, and you can’t take another half trillion willy-nilly right across the board away from everything else. You’ve got to do it intelligently and surgically.”  Nelson also defended the Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare, as not perfect but a good first step. Among the good things it does is allow parents to keep their children on their family insurance policy through age 26, prevent insurance companies from canceling policies in the middle of medical treatment or deny someone coverage because of an existing condition. “Yours truly has read it. Yours truly helped write it,” Nelson responded after being asked how Congress could approve the act without reading it. “I didn’t get what I wanted because we had to get 60 votes to get this thing passed, and there are a lot of things in there I would have had different. I would have gotten a lot more out of the pharmaceutical industry than is in there. “Now that the Supreme Court has said it’s constitutional, we will be able to fix it where it needs fixing,” he added.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012


Local real estate sales up in July
Median prices rose in Walton, Okaloosa, Santa Rosa counties
 315-4448 | @DustyRnwfdn dricketts@nwfdailynews.com 
 It’s been a tough five years, but the local real estate market showed signs of improvement in July. Florida Realtors, the largest real estate organization in the state, recently released its market updates for July sales in Okaloosa, Walton and Santa Rosa counties. Median sales prices for single-family homes and townhomes and condominiums increased in all three counties compared to July 2011. “What it means when the prices start going up is the inventory that was created by the recession has basically been foreclosed on, resold or taken out of the market in some way,” said David Goetsch, a local economist and chairman of the Okaloosa County Economic Development Council. “What’s happening now is you’re actually beginning to see new houses be built and get sold. That’s the little trigger; that’s how you know that prices are going to go up when that inventory is gone.” In Okaloosa County, 231 single-family home sales closed in July at a median price of $188,000. That was 5.6 percent more than July 2011, when the median sales price was $178,000.  The median sales price of the county’s townhomes and condos increased 5.8 percent, from $198,450 in July 2011 to $210,000 in July of this year. Median prices jumped even more in Walton and Santa Rosa counties.  Walton County’s median sales price for single-family homes in July was $320,000, an 8.8 percent increase from July 2011, when the median price was $294,000. The median price of each townhome and condo increased 21.2 percent, from $195,000 in July 2011 to $236,250 last July. In Santa Rosa County, the median sales price of single-family homes in July was $193,500, a 17.3 percent jump from July of last year, when the median price was $165,000. The median sales price of a condo and townhome increased 43.4 percent, going from $198,750 in July 2011 to $285,000 last July. “I think the prices will continue to go up just slightly, but very, very slowly because our economic recovery is not strong enough to make them go up very much,” Goetsch said. “What you’re seeing right now is good news. It’s not going to level off where it is, but it’s not going to go up that much more, either.”