Potential major shift in the way I-275 serves Tampa Bay

You are invited to attend and participate in the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT), District Seven, public hearing for a Project Development and Environment (PD&E) study of I-275 (SR 93) from south of 54th Avenue South to north of 4th Street North in Pinellas County, Florida. This public hearing is being held to allow interested persons the opportunity to provide comments concerning the location, conceptual design, and social, economic, and environmental effects of the proposed improvements. The 16.3-mile study evaluates the need for operational improvements and congestion management for the corridor.

The public hearing will be:

Date:               Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Time:              5:30 p.m. – 7:30 p.m.

Location:        First Baptist Church – Heritage Hall

1900 Gandy Boulevard N.

St. Petersburg, FL 33702

Department representatives will be available at the public hearing beginning at 5:30 p.m. to answer questions and discuss the project informally. Draft project documents and other project related materials will be displayed and a PowerPoint presentation will run continuously during the open house. At 6:30 p.m., FDOT representatives will begin the formal portion of the hearing, which will provide an opportunity for attendees to make formal oral public comments. Following the formal portion of the hearing, the informal open house will resume and continue until 7:30 p.m. A court reporter will be available to receive comments in a one-on-one setting. Written comments can be submitted at the hearing, mailed to the FDOT (address below), or emailed to sara.hall@dot.state.fl.us or kirk.bogen@dot.state.fl.us. All comments must be postmarked or emailed by Friday, October 9, 2015.

Draft project documents will be available for public review from September 8, 2015 to October 9, 2015, at the following locations and on the project website, http://active.fdotd7studies.com/i275/54th-to-4th/.

FDOT – District 7

11201 N. McKinley Dr.

Tampa, FL 33612-6454

(800) 226-7220

St. Petersburg Public Library – North Branch

861 70th Ave. N.

St. Petersburg, FL 33702

(727) 893-7214

St. Petersburg Public Library – South Branch

2300 Roy Hanna Dr. S.

St. Petersburg, FL 33712

(727) 893-7244

If you have questions about the project or the scheduled hearing, please contact Sara Hall, Project Manager, at 813-975-6173sara.hall@dot.state.fl.us or Kirk Bogen, Environmental Management Engineer, at 813-975-6448kirk.bogen@dot.state.fl.us.

PRO members go to Washington D.C. – what did they accomplish?

Last week 15 PRO members and staff joined thousands of their fellow Realtors in Washington, DC to discuss important issues facing Realtors and their clients. PRO members were able to meet with Pinellas County’s three members of Congress – Rep. David Jolly, Rep. Kathy Castor, and Rep. Gus Bilirakis. Click here to view the issues we discussed with them, which they all support.

PRO recommendations for November election

Voting in Pinellas County begins on September 30 as absentee ballots will be mailed out. Some

voters will have more offices to decide on than others, but all will have the opportunity to vote for Greenlight Pinellas. Below are all the candidates recommended by the Pinellas Realtor® Organization and Florida Realtors®:

Yes on Greenlight Pinellas

Jack Latvala for State Senate District 20

Jeff Brandes for State Senate District 22

Larry Ahern for State Representative District 66

Chris Latvala for State Representative District 67

Dwight Dudley for State Representative District 68

Kathleen Peters for State Representative District 69

Darryl Rouson for State Representative District 70

Dave Eggers for County Commission District 4

Ken Peluso for School Board District 4

Rene Flowers for School Board District 7

Julie Ward Bujalski for Dunedin Mayor

Michael Smith for Largo City Commission District 1

Samantha Fenger for Largo City Commission District 2

Harriet Crozier for Largo City Commission District 5

Roger Edelman for Seminole City Council

2014 Florida legislative session ends: Sadowski and homeless funding among victories

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — May 2, 2014 / 10:40 PM — The last time lawmakers directed Sadowski Affordable Housing Trust Funds to housing and not general revenue, Florida upset Ohio State to win the BCS Championship and Apple introduced the iPhone.

It’s a different story this year. For the first time in seven years, a significant amount of money collected for the Sadowski Funds from a portion of doc stamp taxes will go toward housing. It was one of several victories for Florida Realtors during the 60-day legislative session, which ended minutes ago.

“When the state faced a budget shortfall, legislators felt the need to sweep Sadowski monies into general revenue,” says John Sebree, Florida Realtors’ chief lobbyist. “This year, there was a $1.2 billion budget surplus. It’s a huge victory for Florida Realtors, for the property owners who pay doc stamps and, most importantly, for the thousands of Floridians, many of them school-age children, who benefit from housing funds.”

Of the $167 million appropriated to the Sadowski Funds, lawmakers directed $100 million to the State Housing Initiative Program (SHIP) and $67.7 million to State Apartment Incentive Loans (SAIL). SHIP provides money to refurbish existing homes for low-income families and provides down payment assistance and lease-purchase assistance. SAIL provides rental assistance.

Here’s how Florida Realtors’ other top initiatives fared this session:

Help for the homeless. Florida Realtors 2014 President Sherri Meadows made homelessness a priority this year, and the association advocated for legislation that provides housing for extremely low-income and homeless populations by funding local homeless coalitions. HB 979 by Rep. Kathleen Peters (R-St. Petersburg) establishes challenge grants for local homeless coalitions, nonprofits and other agencies that assist the homeless, and will also provide these agencies with training and technical assistance. The Senate companion bill, SB 1090 by Sen. Jack Latvala (R-Clearwater), included a dedicated revenue source for homeless programs through the Department of Children and Families. While this provision didn’t make it into the final legislation, the 2014-2015 state budget provides $4 million for homeless programs. Effective July 1, 2014.

Post Biggert-Waters: Developing a private flood insurance market. Despite reforms at the federal level to slow flood insurance rate increases, Florida Realtors and other business groups sought an alternative to the NFIP at the state level. SB 542 by Sen. Jeff Brandes (R-St. Petersburg) encourages private insurers to enter the Florida market by giving them rate-setting flexibility and reduced regulatory burdens. Early on, the House and Senate disagreed on how much flexibility to give insurance companies on the amount of coverage required. SB 542 requires the same coverage, deductibles and adjustment of losses as provided by the NFIP. Effective upon becoming law.

FIGA reforms fall at last minute. This is the second year that Florida Realtors lobbied for reforms to the Florida Insurance Guaranty Association (FIGA), a nonprofit corporation that pays claims on behalf of insolvent insurance companies. HB 375, an omnibus insurance bill by David Santiago (R-Deltona), would have allowed FIGA to collect assessments in monthly installments if it has enough funds to pay claims for six months or more. This was important to insurance companies considering writing policies in Florida, because unexpected assessments reduce a company’s surplus and the funds available to pay its own claims.

Funding for water quality projects. With the goal of developing a comprehensive statewide water plan in 2015, the state budget earmarks $167.8 million for Lake Okeechobee, Indian River Lagoon and Everglades cleanup projects. When waters in Lake Okeechobee rise to dangerous levels during the rainy season, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers releases the excess water — often polluted with toxic algae — into nearby rivers and estuaries. This money will help pay for reservoirs, muck removal, elevated bridges to restore Everglades water flows south of the lake and research. Additionally, lawmakers approved $25 million for springs restoration.

A state study, but no lowering of sales tax on commercial leases this year. Gov. Rick Scott’s $500 million tax cut package earmarked $100 million toward a phase-out of the current sales tax on commercial leases. He understood that being the only state to impose such a tax puts Florida businesses at a competitive disadvantage with neighboring states and online retailers. Florida Realtors sought to lower the rate from 6 percent to 5 percent beginning in 2014. But the Legislature wanted broad-based tax cuts, so $395 million was dedicated to lowering vehicle registration and title fees. You can imagine the competition for a piece of the remaining $105 million. In the end, negotiators from both chambers settled on three sales tax holidays — back-to-school supplies, hurricane supplies and energy-efficient appliances — and tax breaks for child car seats, children’s bicycle helmets and college meal plans. Off the list: a reduction in the sales tax on commercial leases. However, the House Speaker pledged to order a comprehensive state analysis on lowering the commercial lease sales tax in advance of the 2015 legislative session.

Other real estate-related bills that passed:

Further reductions to Citizens’ size and risk. The 2013 Legislature took big steps toward shrinking the state’s insurer of last resort. The list of action items remaining in this year’s main Citizens bill, SB 1672 by Sen. David Simmons (R-Altamonte Springs), isn’t quite as ambitious but will have an impact. Starting this July, Citizens will no longer write new multi-peril policies on condo buildings. It will, however, offer new wind-only policies. Another provision in the bill prevents contractors from rebating all or a portion of the deductible to the policyholder. This is aimed at curbing fraud, which is a felony. Effective July 1, 2014

Protecting consumers from post-claim underwriting. SB 708 by Sen. Aaron Bean (R-Jacksonville) creates a “Homeowner Claims Bill of Rights” to help protect policyholders from having their policies canceled and claims denied illegally. The legislation seeks to stop a practice known as “post-claim underwriting” used by a large Florida insurer to avoid paying claims. Example: A home burns to the ground due to an accidental fire. The policyholder files a claim. Accidental fire is clearly covered by the policy, but the claim is denied because, years earlier, a family member answered a question on the application incorrectly. The Bill of Rights also explains the claim-filing process and informs policyholders of possible unscrupulous practices used to deny claims. Insurers will be required to complete the underwriting process in 90 days and may not deny a claim and/or cancel a policy based on the insured’s credit information after their policy has been in force for 90 days or longer. Effective July 1, 2014

Expanded duties for Community Association Managers (CAM). Despite opposition from the Florida Bar, which petitioned the courts in 2012 to define many CAM activities as the unauthorized practice of law — a third-degree felony — lawmakers approved HB 7037 . The House committee bill, filed by Ross Spano (R-Dover), allows CAMs to complete certain association forms created by statute or by a state agency, calculate and prepare assessment and estoppel certificates, negotiate financial terms of a contract on behalf of a Homeowners’ Association and draft pre-arbitration demands. Florida Realtors supported an amendment on the House floor to prevent management companies from imposing additional charges incurred when collecting delinquent assessments. Effective July 1, 2014

New disclosure for new home construction. This disclosure is in response to an investigation of the nation’s largest homebuilder, which had retained oil, natural gas, water and other mineral rights beneath thousands of Tampa-area homes without properly notifying buyers. HB 489 by Rep. Ross Spano (R-Dover) impacts sellers who have retained, or will retain, subsurface rights of new homes and lots where a new home will be constructed pursuant to a contract with the seller. In these instances, sellers must provide a specific notice at or before the execution of a sales contract stating that the transaction does not include subsurface rights. The original legislation required this disclosure where subsurface rights had been severed or retained by any previous owner of residential property, and gave buyers three days after the contract was signed or deed was executed to rescind the offer. Florida Realtors worked with Rep. Spano to remove these requirements. Effective October 1, 2014

Local governments regain some “home rule” powers over vacation rentals. In 2011, the Legislature passed legislation prohibiting local governments from regulating, banning or creating new rules specific to short-term rentals. The industry grew — 17 million Florida tourists stay in a rental home, according to the industry’s trade group — and so did the size of rental properties. In some communities, large homes with many bedrooms are being rented out to multiple families, creating a hotel-like atmosphere. SB 356 by Sen. John Thrasher (R-St. Augustine) empowers local governments to enact ordinances specific to vacation rentals, such as noise, parking and garbage. However, local governments may not pass ordinances that prohibit vacation rentals or regulate their duration or frequency. Effective July 1, 2014

Budget items:

• $4 million from the State Housing Initiative Program (SHIP) to the Department of Children and Families for homelessness programs

• $14.7 million tax incentive to Habitat for Humanity

• $3.56 million for homeless grants

• $505,000 for a statewide Homeless Advocacy and Affordable Housing Campaign

• $1.5 million for regional housing initiatives

• Up to $500,000 to combat unlicensed real estate activity

• $650,000 to complete the Department of Health’s Florida Onsite Sewage Nitrogen Reduction Strategies study

• $57.5 million to Florida Forever, the state’s conservation land acquisition program

Initiatives that failed:

A requirement that Citizens Property Insurance Corp. policyholders use contractors approved by the state-run insurer to repair homes damaged by a sinkhole.

A provision to allow surplus line carriers into the Citizens clearinghouse as an option for homeowners whose policy is up for renewal.

Enabling neighborhood improvements districts to bond revenue for infrastructure improvements.

Allowing people who own a number of similar properties, such as condominiums, to challenge a property assessment in one petition.

A proposed constitutional amendment to provide a tax exemption to commercial properties equipped with renewable energy devices. In 2008, Florida voters approved a constitutional amendment that gives residential property owners a tax break for renewable energy and wind resistance improvements.

Regulating vacation rental managers under Chapter 475, Florida Statutes.

Allowing civil actions for violations of state fair housing laws.

A new local option sales tax to cleanup polluted bodies of water, including tributaries, canals, storm water conveyance systems and channels.

Bills to shrink the Florida Hurricane Catastrophe (CAT) Fund.

Two new disclosures for residential leases: one to notify a tenant that renter’s insurance is required and a different disclosure that insurance isn’t required.

A coastal restoration bill that would have allowed single-family coastal homeowners to obtain a permit from the Department of Environmental Protection to restore dunes, build dune walkovers, decks and fences and other projects, within certain guidelines.

All proposals to allow for local governments to create their own documentary stamp tax for housing or infrastructure.

 

Flood bill passes House AND Senate, Obama signs

UPDATE: 3-21-14
President Obama has signed The Homeowner Flood Insurance Affordability Act. This marks a long, arduous journey to fix some of the most damaging aspects of Biggert-Waters. A big thank you goes out to the Public Policy team at NAR and Florida Realtors.

The US Senate passed “The Homeowner Flood Insurance Affordability Act” by a vote of 72-22. This is the bill that the US House passed last week. This is incredible news for REALTORS® and property owners. The bill will now to sent directly to President Obama for his signature. Both US Senators Nelson and

Rubio voted in favor of the bill. Here is a synopsis of what the bill accomplishes:

  • Reinstates Grandfathering – This bill permanently repeals Section 207 of the Biggert-Waters Act, meaning that grandfathering is reinstated. All post-FIRM properties built to code at the time of construction will have protection from rate spikes due to new mapping – for example, if you built to +2 Base Flood Elevation, you stay at +2, regardless of new maps. Also importantly, the grandfathering stays with the property, not the policy.
  • Caps Annual Rate Increases at 15% – This bill decreases FEMA’s authority to raise premiums. The bill prevents FEMA from increasing premiums within a single property class beyond a 15 percent average a year, with an individual cap of eighteen percent a year. Pre Biggert-Waters, the class average cap was 10%. Currently (Post Biggert-Waters), the class average cap is 20%. The bill also requires a 5% minimum annual increase on pre-FIRM primary residence policies that are not at full risk. The updated legislation also states that FEMA shall strive to minimize the number of policies with premium increases that exceed one percent of the total coverage of the policy (e.g., 1% of $250,000 = $2,500).
  • Refunds policyholders who purchased pre-FIRM homes after Biggert-Waters (7/6/12) and were subsequently charged higher rates
  • Permanently Removes the Sales Trigger – This bill removes the policy sales trigger, which allows a purchaser to take advantage of a phase in. The new purchaser is treated the same as the current property owner.
  • Allows for Annual Surcharges – This legislation applies an annual surcharge of $25 for primary residences and $250 for second homes and businesses, until subsidized policies reach full risk rates. All revenue from these assessments would be placed in the NFIP reserve fund, which was established to ensure funds are available for meeting the expected future obligations of the NFIP.
  • Funds the Affordability Study and Mandates Completion – This legislation funds the affordability study required by Biggert-Waters and mandates its completion in two years.
  • Includes the Home Improvement Threshold – This bill returns the “substantial improvement threshold” (i.e. renovations and remodeling) to the historic 50% of a structure’s fair market value level. Under Biggert-Waters, premium increases are triggered when the renovation investments meet 30% of the home’s value.
  • Additional provisions – This legislation includes several other provisions including preserving the basement exception, allowing for payments to be made in monthly installments, and reimbursing policy holders for successful map appeals.

Update: Greenlight Pinellas

Last Tuesday the Pinellas County Commissioners heard public testimony from over 100 citizens both for and against Greenlight Pinellas. Afterwards, the commissioners discussed their options and then voted 6-1 on the exact wording of the Greenlight Pinellas Initiative that will be on the November 2014 ballot. Here is the exact wording we will see on the November ballot:

Title: Levy of Countywide One Percent Sales Surtax to Fund Greenlight Pinellas Plan for Public Transit

Summary: Shall the improvement, construction, operation, maintenance and financing of public transit benefiting Pinellas County, including an expanded bus system with bus rapid transit, increased frequency and extended hours, local passenger rail and regional connections be funded by levying a one percent sales surtax from January 1, 2016 until repealed, with proceeds deposited in a dedicated trust fund?

_____ YES, for the 1% sales surtax

_____ NO, against the 1% sales surtax

 

This is exciting news as we can now move to a full campaign in favor of Greenlight Pinellas. Over the next year you will hear a great deal from PRO, your local chambers of commerce, and many civic groups about the importance of passing the initiative. If you have any questions for comments please let Joe Farrell, PRO’s Director of Public Affairs, know at jfarrell@tampabayrealtor.com.

Senate Coalition Pushing for Flood Insurance Rate Hike Delays

This week NAR continued a full push of the House and Senate on flood insurance reform. Things are moving smoothly in the house as they continue to gain support. In the Senate a coalition of support has emerged with Senators from Oregon, Louisiana, and Florida leading the way. Read this great article by Congressional Quarterly outlining the support, and the obstacles, in the Senate.

 

CQ NEWS – POLICY

Oct. 21, 2013 – 6:22 p.m.

Senate Coalition Pushing for Flood Insurance Rate Hike Delays

By Jennifer Scholtes, CQ Roll Call

 

The group of senators brainstorming ways to temper a set of rate hikes under the federally run flood insurance program has agreed on a general legislative framework, according to leaders of the cause.

 

The senators decided in a meeting this month that they will push legislation to force the Federal Emergency Management Agency to hold off on premium increases for at least two years or until the agency finishes a study on how to ensure flood insurance policies are affordable for property owners, according to Sen. David Vitter, R-La., and Senate aides privy to the group’s discussions. They also agreed to try to mandate changes to the way FEMA maps each region’s flood risk and how rates are raised on properties.

 

“We’re planning on pushing, basically — to oversimplify — a two-step approach: basically a timeout.” Vitter said. “And then, of course, ultimately you don’t just need a timeout; you need fine-tuning involved to get this right, which I think will be some fine-tuning both at the administrative level, particularly with regard to mapping, and fine-tuning with some congressional amendments.”

 

The faction of legislators from flood-prone states announced three weeks ago that they were talking through, but had not yet decided on, a strategy for scaling back premium increases Congress enacted last summer (PL 112-141) in hopes of stabilizing the indebted National Flood Insurance Program.

 

Sen. Jeff Merkley, D-Ore., chairman of the Senate, Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Subcommittee on Economic Policy, hosted the group’s latest meeting.

 

A Merkley aide said this week that the senators “have come up with a framework of delaying and improving the flood insurance program,” but that there is no consensus yet on the length of the delay or how the program would be revamped.

 

The group also includes Sens. Mary L. Landrieu, D-La.; John Hoeven, R-N.D.; Marco Rubio, R-Fla.; Heidi Heitkamp, D-N.D.; Robert Menendez, D-N.J.; and Bill Nelson, D-Fla.

 

Nelson said last week that the government shutdown, which dominated the congressional agenda for much of this month, “caused an unnecessary delay” in the group’s work. “But I’m still confident we can get it done,” he said.

 

Changes Underway

Since the legislation was first enacted last year to do away with subsidized and grandfathered rates under the flood insurance program, homes that have been sold are being assessed rates that reflect their actual risk of flooding.

 

On Oct. 1, FEMA began raising rates on several other types of properties, including businesses and those that have been severely flooded on a regular basis. But the agency will not begin phasing out grandfathered rates on all properties until the end of 2014 — a deadline lawmakers are keeping in mind as they draft proposals to stall the increases, Vitter said.

 

The senator hopes the group can enact a delay “within two or three months, versus even a year,” he said.

 

“But there’s no single, simple, hard deadline that changes are beginning to happen,” Vitter said. “A lot of them, and perhaps the most significant, don’t happen for a little bit. So I certainly hope we can act well before that.”

 

Those in Congress trying to ease the effects of the rate hikes, which they say are unfair and unaffordable for many U.S. property owners, have tried this year to introduce stand-alone measures that would force FEMA to hold off on raising premiums. They have found, however, that their language has moved closer to enactment within appropriations bills.

 

“We’re going to look for any opportunity that presents itself,” Vitter said. “But some spending bill is the most obvious, the most traditional, opportunity. So maybe the bill or bills that are passed between now and the January/February deadlines will be that opportunity.”

 

House Versus Senate

One of Vitter’s Louisiana colleagues in the House, Republican Rep. Bill Cassidy, agrees it would be ideal to tack flood insurance provisions onto the next spending proposals Congress considers to fund the government once the latest continuing resolution (PL 113-46) expires in mid-January and suspension of the debt limit runs out in early February.

 

This summer, Cassidy succeeded in getting an amendment added to the Homeland Security spending bill (HR 2217) the House signed off on in June. But that language, which the lower chamber adopted 281-146, was not included in the stopgap spending measure Congress most recently enacted.

 

“We’re continuing to work on getting a critical mass,” Cassidy said last week. “Obviously we’ve already passed something. We’d like to again pass it, if it’s not going to advance on the CR.”

 

Getting signoff on language to delay the rate increases is more difficult in the Senate, though, where a few lawmakers have worked for nearly a decade to do away with subsidized and grandfathered flood insurance rates that have contributed to the roughly $24 billion debt the insurance program has accrued since Hurricanes Katrina and Rita hit the Gulf Coast in 2005.

 

Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Okla., and the Senate Appropriations Committee’s ranking Republican, Richard C. Shelby of Alabama, have both said in recent months that they will continue to block proposals to stall the premium increases enacted last year.

 

“I have to think that there is still within the Congress a silent majority on this particular issue,” Chad Berginnis, executive director of the Association of State Floodplain Managers, said this month. “There are a lot of members that I think probably have more of the opinion of Sens. Shelby and Coburn, and some of the folks who look more at the fiscal side of this and say, ‘We have got to do something different.’”

 

Your Flood Insurance Toolkit

The National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) Toolkit for Realtors® includes links and resources to detailed information on the NFIP to help answer Realtor® questions about the changes coming to the NFIP. Click here to access the toolkit and be sure to bookmark or favorite this page to refer back to.

Over the last several weeks, PRO staff members have collected signatures of over 1,000 PRO members for the letters we wrote to Senators Marco Rubio and Bill Nelson. These letters called on them to vote in favor of the one year moratorium and to work with NAR to find a long term fix for the flood insurance nightmare.

PRO Advocacy Update for August

Flood Insurance Update, Again

On July 18th Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-LA) successfully added an amendment to the Homeland Security Appropriations Bill that would delay the increased rates for “grandfathered” properties. The bill still needs to be voted on by the full Senate. We will let you know as soon as that happens. An amendment to the same effect already cleared the House of Representatives thanks to the help of Reps. Maxine Waters (D-CA) and Bill Cassidy (R-LA).

Many Realtors® have already witnessed firsthand the consequences of the new National Flood Insurance Program. If you have any cases that seem unusual please contact Joe Farrell at jfarrell@tampabayrealtor.com. Click here for more info on this topic.

Fewer ‘A’ Schools Than Last Year

Changes to the testing of Florida public school students have caused a tightening of the number of top schools in the area. The schools themselves have not changed, but the ever evolving test standards have decreased the number of pre-high-school ‘A’ schools from 1242 to 760. For Realtors® answering that ever important question of “Where would my children go to school?” the answer just got a little more difficult.

School grades could change significantly, again, with the adoption of the Common Core standards being introduced for 2014-2015 school year. We will continue to monitor the situation. Click here for more info on this topic.

Pinellas Realtor® Organization Recommends

The PRO Board of Directors voted unanimously for its recommendations for Mayor and City Council of St. Petersburg. The member only candidate screening committee reviewed questionnaires and interviewed candidates. There are thoughtful, qualified candidates running for every seat, but a few stood out for their overall commitment to community, understanding of economic issues, and advocacy for property owners. PRO recommends the following candidates for the August 27th primary election:

Mayor: Bill Foster

District 2: Jim Kennedy

District 4: Darden Rice

District 6: Karl Nurse

District 8: Amy Foster

Click here to read the article.

 

The Pinellas REALTOR® Organization Recommendations for St. Petersburg 2013 Elections

The Board of Directors of the PINELLAS REALTOR® ORGANIZATION (PRO) today announces its recommendations for Mayor and City Council of St. Petersburg. The member only candidate screening committee reviewed questionnaires and interviewed candidates. There are thoughtful, qualified candidates running for every seat, but a few stood out for their overall commitment to community, understanding of economic issues, and advocacy for property owners. PRO recommends the following candidates for the August 27th primary election:

Mayor: Hon. Bill Foster

District 2: Hon. Jim Kennedy

District 4: Darden Rice

District 6: Hon. Karl Nurse

District 8: Amy Foster