FLERA Board Welcomes New Members
The FLERA Board of Directors met on October 4, 2017 in Alachua County and held elections to fill Board vacancies along with conducting other Association business. Please welcome our newest FLERA Board members to the team:
Lisa Spadafina, Secretary-Treasurer, Miami-Dade County
Neal Thomas, Orange County
Steve Hofstetter, Alachua County
Darry Boudreau, The Nature Conservancy.
Board members invest significant time to the Association so we hope you will join us in welcoming them aboard.
October 9-13 Legislative Committee Week Recap
Most of the legislative committees this week were in some way related to Hurricane Irma, Florida’s recovery efforts, and the effect of the storm on the state’s budget. The Governor has over $140M in emergency funds available. This, coupled with the negative effect on Florida’s economy due to the storm itself, means that Florida has gone from expecting a healthy budget surplus of over $50M to expecting a significant budget shortfall of almost $150M.
Additionally, many bills related to Land Acquisition Trust Fund (LATF) allocations have been filed. Senator Bradley is sponsoring SB 204, which currently allocates $50M for the St. Johns River or Keystone Heights. He is also sponsoring SB 370, which would allocate $100M for Florida Forever. Senator Latvala is sponsoring SB 174, which allocates $50M for the statewide beach program. Representative Harrell has indicated that she will file legislation that allocates $50M to the Indian River Lagoon. We understand that additional LATF proposals from other legislators are on their way. These proposals will likely total more than will actually be available in the LATF.
The Florida Keys were particularly hard hit by Hurricane Irma and Monroe County now faces a serious housing crisis, in addition to other significant recovery-related issues. Hurricane Maria is also affecting the state in that Florida schools are dealing with an influx of hundreds of students, many of whom are not English-speaking and have been out of school for several weeks already. It promises to be a challenging budget year, not just for environmental programs, but for everyone.
National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP)
The temporary extension and reauthorization of NFIP expires on December 8. In the meantime, Congress has considered legislation that would promote development of private flood insurance as part of legislation to reauthorize the Federal Aviation Administration and provide hurricane tax relief. The Association of State Floodplain Managers (ASFPM) recently wrote Congressional leaders and urged them not to do this, as it would undermine the critical functioning of the NFIP. ASFPM has urged Congress to ensure continuity of the comprehensive flood risk reduction aspects of NFIP today by doing three things:
First, private policies must also vary the federal policy user fee to support mapping and floodplain management functions.
Second, private policies to satisfy the mandatory purchase requirement for properties in floodplains must only be sold in communities that participate in the NFIP (meaning that they have adopted floodplain management ordinances to guide safer development).
Third, several provisions of the existing definition of private flood insurance must be maintained. Current language in Biggert-Waters provides consumer protections to ensure policies would not have excessive deductibles, exclusions, or eliminate some essential coverages such as Increased Cost of Compliance, which provides assistance to policyholders to rebuild in a manner that reduces flood damage in the future.
We will continue to keep you informed on this issue.
FLERA Committee Volunteers
FLERA is currently soliciting volunteers to serve on various committees to assist the organization in advancing its mission.
Conference Committee – We want our 2018 Annual Conference to be a remarkable event and we need your help! Planning is underway and input from FLERA members is critical to its success. This Conference Committee will guide the planning and administration of the conference and other events in the future.
Legislative Committee – The 2018 Legislative Session is quickly approaching and there are many policy and funding challenges ahead. Join the FLERA Legislative Committee to help educate legislators and keep FLERA members apprised of legislative activity.
Finance Committee – The Board of Directors recently established the Finance Committee whose tasks will include reviewing the Association’s financial records and making budget recommendations to the FLERA Board.
If you are interested in serving on one of these committees please contact Valerie Rogers at (850) 701-4797.
Save the Date! The 2018 FLERA Annual Conference will be held August 1-3, 2018 at the Hutchinson Shores Resort on Hutchinson Island in Martin County. Registration and hotel information will be available in the coming weeks.