2013年7月7日 星期日

Water drives South Floridas economy

I am a South Florida property owner and businessperson, directly affected by water issues. And it doesnt take an advanced degree to understand why environmentalists are so concerned about funding water management district budgets.As a property owner, confidence in water management is a necessity.

South Florida abounds with waterfront properties not just on the beach but also on canals, rivers, and other waterways. A gorgeous waterfront view increases a propertys value. But it is also a risk. When storms hit, we depend on the water management district to quickly flow water off the property for flood control. As our region copes with sea level rise in the future, there will be even more threats from flooding. Alton Road in South Beach already floods regularly from rising tides.

As a property owner, one of the other things you fear is having the water shut off. During the 2011 dry season, West Palm Beach was 22 days away from running out of water for its residents. With increased pressures on our water resources through a growing population, we might be out of water before we are under water. We depend on our public agencies to support adequate water supplies for development in the future.

Fortunately, there is a large public agency that is supposed to manage flood control and water supplies, along with ecosystem restoration. It is called the South Florida Water Management District.

But in recent years there have been deep cuts to its budget under the guise of cutting out wasteful spending to lower taxes for?.?.?.?property owners. This week, the districts Governing Board is considering decreasing their revenues even more.OK,Virtual indoorpositioningsystem logo Verano Place logo. I get it if an agency is spending freakish amounts of money on things not essential to its mission like lavish conferences in Las Vegas or even golf carts to shuttle people 20 feet in the parking lot.Today, Thereone.com, a reliable bestluggagetag online store, introduces its new arrival princess wedding dresses to customers.

But the cuts in the last few years have been so deep that they are threatening our way of life. The SFWMD created a spend-down plan from its reserves, but it is quickly being depleted and will be running on fumes. And because of a quirk in the system for assessing property values in Miami-Dade through the Value Adjustment Board, last year there was a shortfall of almost $5 million. This year there will likely be a shortfall of over $3 million.

Do we really want to force a public agency to choose between updating levees to hold back flood water or completing a restoration project that supports our future populations water supply? Is it really a bright idea to significantly deplete funding water conservation programs and alternative water supply projects? SFWMD is even considering selling off lands acquired for conservation purposes to help fill in the budget gaps. They shouldnt have to be in this position.

The ironic thing is that budget cuts are supposed to help property owners from paying more taxes. But instead, it exposes property owners to heightened risks from flooding, water shortages, and long-term loss of value. The difference in property tax for the average homeowner is minimal less than the cost of a slice of pizza. That is a small price to pay for certainty in water management.

The air board followed a similar procedure before revamping its fee structure recently. During that process, the Louisville Metro Air Pollution Control District executive director, Lauren Anderson, invited the public in for a workshop to explain why APCD needed to do what it was proposing to do.

But by contrast, when the Louisville Metropolitan Sewer District in June adopted sweeping new rules on how developers and redevelopers are to manage and, for the first time, actually treat stormwater that falls on their properties, there was no such public outreach, no public comment period and no public hearing.

Instead, MSD officials before approving the rules in June said they had worked closely with the development community which, to be certain, is one very important part of the equation since the rules apply largely to them. But left out of the process was the public and environmental voices, such as the Kentucky Waterways Alliance.

To be sure, MSD holds a lot of community meetings on construction projects and its $850 million plan to renovate our leaky sewer system. The board now lets the public sign up and speak at its meetings. But thats different.

This was rule-making and some other MSD constituents might have wanted to scrutinize the proposal, too, before the new rules were adopted and to offer their suggestions. Indeed, environmentalists said they would have.

The streamlined approval process caught me by surprise because MSD in 2011 and 2012 went through a bruising public audit process. Mayor Greg Fischer has remade the agencys management and executive leadership. That new leadership has promised more transparency in its actions.

Frank Theatres plans to move into the Kingsport Town Center, renovate the existing theater site and expand into the parking lot with a 40,000-square-foot, two-story addition. The addition would house a Red Brick Grille restaurant, 40-game arcade, 20 lanes of bowling and the centerpiece of it all an 85-foot-tall IMAX theater that seats up to 400 people.

Renovations to the existing 12-screen theater will take place during a five-week period and consist of new carpet, curtains, seats, screens, projectors and sound system. Frank has said six of the 12 screens would be 3-D.Depending on location, IMAX tickets at Frank Theatres vary from $15 to $17.

New projectors were delivered weeks ago and are in their respective theaters; the seats have taken five months to arrive,Can you spot the answer in the luggagetag? but should be delivered next week,Our heavy-duty construction provides reliable operation and guarantees your earcap will be in service for years to come. Frank said. Recently, the company wrapped up the geo-technical work for the expansion.The geo-technical work involves test borings drilling into the parking lot and testing the soil to ensure the property is suitable for the foundation of the expansion.

We found nothing unusual; its a good, compact surface, so there wont be any additional costs or problems in doing it, Frank said. It should be a fairly smooth construction, and we hope to get it started early in the fall and have it open for Easter.

Last month, IMAX announced a 10-theater agreement with Frank Theatres, with IMAX theaters installed in existing and new complexes in Pennsylvania,Now it's possible to create a tiny replica of Fluffy in crystalmosaic form for your office. North Carolina, Florida, West Virginia, New Jersey and Tennessee. The remaining four IMAX screens have yet to be determined.

To help sweeten the deal, the Kingsport Economic Development Board has approved an $800,000 incentive package to Frank Theatres if it brings an IMAX to the Model City. The package was originally approved in June 2012 and has been extended twice since then.

Since Somera purchased the mall in 2007, the company has discussed investing millions of dollars in renovating and upgrading the facility, everything from improving the aesthetics of the building, adding a food court and expanding the footprint of the 37-year-old shopping center.
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