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All Information (Except Text) for S.1073 - Escambia County Land Conveyance Act 115th Congress (2017-2018)

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Also, at the time of the tax protests some people argued that neither Escambia or Santa Rosa are Charter Counties under the Florida constitution, and that the entire deed is invalid and a constructive trust should give the state of Florida ownership, but still pursuant to the restrictions in the deed. So even if a person in Escambia County argues that they "gave" something to Santa Rosa County, some resident in the State of Florida could argue that all residents of Florida are the grantee under the original deed.

All those ideas of somebody getting something for nothing could be litigated, but giving fee simple........is simple and the right answer. However, a resident of the State of Florida could argue that the bill is invalid because it is under the constitution of Florida deficient.

There are 20 out of Florida's 67 counties in which the electorate has adopted a charter form of government. These are: Alachua, Brevard, Broward, Charlotte, Clay, Columbia, Duval, Hillsborough, Lee, Leon, Orange, Osceola, Miami-Dade, Palm Beach, Pinellas, Polk, Sarasota, Seminole, Volusia and Wakulla.

This charter designation is similar to Illinois home rule municipalities which have unique powers under the Illinois constitution, and an action by a non home rule municipality is void. So the idea that Escambia County owns Santa Rosa Island is certainly subject to challenge by the State of Florida, but it will not happen because the "public use" restriction in the original deed will be served by the fee simple transfer. Again, no back room deals, just financial expediency where the carrying cost of Navarre Beach prior to real estate taxes hardly could be sustained when the sales tax dollars at the time were minimal, gas taxes were minimal, and the need to supplement MSUBs obvious.

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2seaoat wrote:Actually, Linda is correct.  The restrictions in the deed were such that not all the interests were transferred to Escambia County, and in fact the US Government had a remainder interest which included control elements under that deed.  My calling the deed a lease is incorrect, but still conceptually valid as to the point I was making that Escambia residents were not given a free hand on how the property could be used.

You're talking about deed restrictions, which are not addressed by this bill, other than requiring EC to maintain public areas.

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The public purpose restriction is a generic restriction which has had years of court interpretations all over the country. The argument in the forties to transfer leaseholds to individuals and commercial leases to support those leases was that the economic generation could meet the public purpose restriction. Nobody challenged the development of PB and NB under the rational basis test that the classification of public purpose was served by economic development.

Now let us say that fifty leaseholds were bought by the County in 2050, and then transferred to one wealthy person to create an estate on PB. I am saying that conveyance could be challenged under the public purpose restriction of the original deed. The County could argue that maybe more tax revenue could be generated, or such an estate will take traffic off the island. A challenger may argue that a creation of a large estate which consisted of former smaller estates is not a public purpose and that remainder interest should be conveyed back to the US Government. Like a lease, or equitable interest in a property, those rights are qualified and not absolute.

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2seaoat wrote:Actually, Linda is correct.  The restrictions in the deed were such that not all the interests were transferred to Escambia County, and in fact the US Government had a remainder interest which included control elements under that deed.  My calling the deed a lease is incorrect, but still conceptually valid as to the point I was making that Escambia residents were not given a free hand on how the property could be used.

There is no validity, conceptual or otherwise, in calling the transfer a lease. It was a deed. Yes, there were deeded restrictions. Still, it was a deed. The federal government no longer had ownership. (Sometime after that, of course, certain portions of the island were deeded back to the federal government for the establishment of the Gulf Islands National Seashore lands lying to the west and east of Pensacola Beach. Those lands are no longer owned or controlled by either county.)

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2seaoat wrote:Prior to the success of Gregg Brown the Assessor of Santa Rosa getting court approval to tax leaseholds which they believed was equitable title similar to fee simple title, Escambia County was spending more money on Navarre Beach than they were receiving from piddly lease payments. A two million dollar house on Navarre just burned down because they have no funds.  I made a comment about the Burger King in Navarre Burning as I followed trucks from Midway over to Navarre.  The simple truth is that before tax dollars it was a drain on Escambia County services.

http://wkrg.com/2017/07/24/3-alarm-fire-burning-in-navarre-beach/

Actually, the simple truth is that this post and the one that follows make me wonder about everything that Seaoat has ever posted.   They are total fabrications, out of thin air.   Escambia County does NOT, I repeat NOT, spend a dime on Navarre Beach.  As previously stated in this thread, Santa Rosa County is the steward of Navarre Beach, and directly collects all lease fees and property taxes.  It does NOT remit them to Escambia County, but pays only a pittance flat annual lease fee to Escambia to make the lease legal.  It (SRC) is also responsible for all maintenance, fire and police, etc. on Navarre Beach, NOT Escambia.  

A few fire trucks from neighboring counties (including from Pensacola Beach in Escambia County) assisted in that large house fire on Navarre Beach.   It was a neighborly assist, the same as would be provided to Pensacola Beach from other locations if needed. That's all it was.

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2seaoat wrote:Also, Escambia County would have had responsibility for the four miles of Gulf Blvd. on Navarre.  The national seashore was not County responsibility, but there were only two gas stations on the island which means gas tax throughout Escambia County would be supporting road maintenance in Santa Rosa County where those two gas stations could no more generate gas tax to maintain those roads.   Again, prior to the success of taxing leaseholds, folks in Escambia County were subsidizing all expenses beyond the piddly leasehold collections and that they were getting no benefit.   Additionally, the taxpayers of Escambia County  did not own Navarre Beach.   They were simply tenants.  The sublease to Santa Rosa is still bound by the master lease from the United States Government.  Most of this anger from the public is this misguided belief that leaseholders are being given something which belongs to the citizens of Escambia County.....sorry folks those leaseholders have protected property rights with equitable title which is just a scintilla short of fee simple already, so nobody is losing anything.  Actually it took a Santa Rosa government official to bring huge revenues to Escambia County which far out weigh this idea that something was loss.   No back room deals, just common sense.


One may as well take the above post of Seaoat's and toss it in the Gulf of Mexico for all it's worth. It's entirely wrong in every respect. The "folks in Escambia County" were NOT subsidizing any expenses on Navarre Beach. Period. That's just wrong.
Escambia County DOES currently own both Pensacola Beach and Navarre Beach, and the citizens of that county are thus owners to the same extent that they own any other properties Escambia has title to. Those who hold residential or commercial leases on part of the lands on the island have the right of quiet enjoyment of their leaseholds, and, in the case of Navarre Beach (and a few leases on Pensacola Beach), as previously indicated, those 99-year leases are considered automatically renewable in perpetuity so, to that extent and that extent only, Seaoat is correct in that there was not likely ever going to be any control over those properties anyway by Escambia County (or its citizens), or even by Santa Rosa County except to the relatively minor extent of the leases' various stipulations and provisions.
("Equitable title," Sea, was a concept that was applied to the Navarre Beach case, not to any of the Escambia cases, in which the judgment of taxability was based on different principles entirely.)
And again, there IS no federal "Master Lease."

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Floridatexan wrote:
2seaoat wrote:Actually, Linda is correct.  The restrictions in the deed were such that not all the interests were transferred to Escambia County, and in fact the US Government had a remainder interest which included control elements under that deed.  My calling the deed a lease is incorrect, but still conceptually valid as to the point I was making that Escambia residents were not given a free hand on how the property could be used.

You're talking about deed restrictions, which are not addressed by this bill, other than requiring EC to maintain public areas.

Right.

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Escambia County does NOT, I repeat NOT, spend a dime on Navarre Beach. As previously stated in this thread, Santa Rosa County is the steward of Navarre Beach, and directly collects all lease fees and property taxes.

The question was why would Escambia transfer the Navarre portion of the leaseholds to Santa Rosa County. Prior to the transfer of the lease to Santa Rosa County, in fact they had responsibility for the same general governmental functions that they had on PB. Sorry you missed the point. At No time at anywhere in my post did I suggest that they were currently collecting fees. The reference was to the common sense of transferring the liability prior to the revenue streams which exist today which at the time could not be foreseen. Again, no back room deal.

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2seaoat wrote:Here is the best analysis of the revenue challenges which faced Escambia prior to the tax revenues being generated.  Great resource.

http://www.wfrpc.org/TA/SRIA_Financial_Analysis.pdf

What you're looking at here is a report generated by the West Florida Regional Planning Council in conjunction with GAI consultants. Once ad valorem taxes were being assessed on Pensacola Beach, this study was commissioned specifically to determine what role, if any, the Santa Rosa Island Authority -- originally chartered to develop and maintain Pensacola Beach (NOT Navarre Beach) should continue to play on Pensacola Beach, what services Escambia County should instead now take over using the newly collected tax revenues, and whether or not and to what extent lease fees -- the sole funding for the SRIA -- should be reduced.
Again, it had nothing whatsoever to do with Navarre Beach.

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Escambia County DOES currently own both Pensacola Beach and Navarre Beach, and the citizens of that county are thus owners to the same extent that they own any other properties Escambia has title to.

This is as incorrect as my initial mistake on the master lease. In fact a property purchased for the new park in Escambia County when conveyed does not have restrictions. Those restrictions require a public purpose which can be challenged at any time in the future. A parcel purchased for a park in Escambia county does NOT have this restriction. The US Government original deed in fact was a restricted deed. In regard to the Escambia owning the island, there is a legal arguments yet untested that the state of Florida is the owner of the land and the transfer to the County was a direct violation of the Florida constitution. That argument was threatened to be litigated, but has not been tested in court as Escambia is not a charter County.

Both arguments do not change the fact that fee simple transfer to the leaseholders is the correct solution, but there still may be litigation.

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2seaoat wrote:Escambia County does NOT, I repeat NOT, spend a dime on Navarre Beach.  As previously stated in this thread, Santa Rosa County is the steward of Navarre Beach, and directly collects all lease fees and property taxes.

The question was why would Escambia transfer the Navarre portion of the leaseholds to Santa Rosa County.  Prior to the transfer of the lease to Santa Rosa County, in fact they had responsibility for the same general governmental functions that they had on PB.  Sorry you missed the point.  At No time at anywhere in my post did I suggest that they were currently collecting fees.  The reference was to the common sense of transferring the liability prior to the revenue streams which exist today which at the time could not be foreseen.  Again, no back room deal.

I didn't miss the point at all. It's just that to the best of my knowledge your point is incorrect -- or at least I would ask you to submit proof that Escambia County ever "had responsibility [on NB] for the same general governmental functions that they had on PB." I don't believe that's the way it went down at all.

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2seaoat wrote:Escambia County DOES currently own both Pensacola Beach and Navarre Beach, and the citizens of that county are thus owners to the same extent that they own any other properties Escambia has title to.

This is as incorrect as my initial mistake on the master lease.  In fact a property purchased for the new park in Escambia County when conveyed does not have restrictions.  Those restrictions require a public purpose which can be challenged at any time in the future.   A parcel purchased for a park in Escambia county does NOT have this restriction.   The US Government original deed in fact was a restricted deed.  In regard to the Escambia owning the island, there is a legal arguments yet untested that the state of Florida is the owner of the land and the transfer to the County was a direct violation of the Florida constitution.  That argument was threatened to be litigated, but has not been tested in court as Escambia is not a charter County.

Both arguments do not change the fact that fee simple transfer to the leaseholders is the correct solution, but there still may be litigation.

I beg to differ.  The fact that there are deeded restrictions prohibiting the sale of the property does not make Escambia County (and thus its citizens) any less the OWNERS of the property. As to any "untested" legal argument that the transfer was a constitutional violation -- moot argument since no one is bringing that to the table.



Last edited by RealLindaL on 8/1/2017, 1:35 am; edited 1 time in total

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Again, it had nothing whatsoever to do with Navarre Beach.

Actually, you evidently never read the same. It has everything to do with my position that the transfer of lease rights to Santa Rosa County had everything to do with liabilities and limited revenues. Perhaps if you ever read the same you can see how low revenues are even now on fuel tax on PB is a pittance, when Navarre had even lower revenues pre tax. The decision to transfer the lease was a common sense solution by both counties. Your failure to see the reference in the context it was offered is noted.

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2seaoat wrote:Again, it had nothing whatsoever to do with Navarre Beach.

Actually, you evidently never read the same.  It has everything to do with my position that the transfer of lease rights to Santa Rosa County had everything to do with liabilities and limited revenues.  Perhaps if you ever read the same you can see how low revenues are even now on fuel tax on PB is a pittance, when Navarre had even lower revenues pre tax.  The decision to transfer the lease was a common sense solution by both counties.  Your failure to see the reference in the context it was offered is noted.

Are you kidding me?? I not only read virtually every word of the study report but was one of the PBeach citizens who provided input to the Planning Council and its consultant during their study. I challenge you to show me EXACTLY WHERE in the report there is any reference to liabilities and/or costs as to Navarre Beach prior to the leasing of same by Escambia to SRC You are really pulling it out of the sky now, sir. The fact that there would've been additional costs and liabilities for Escambia County had it decided to hold and manage Navarre Beach is a NO BRAINER which nobody needed this study to prove, and which was already put forth early on in this thread.

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I beg to differ. The fact that there are deeded restrictions prohibiting the sale of the property does not make Escambia County (and thus its citizens) any less the OWNERS of the property.


You completely misunderstand the deed restriction of the original deed. It is the public use restriction. This is a often challenged restriction in public conveyances between governmental bodies. To give you some context. We had two developers where a municipality transferred a park to a township with the usual public purpose restriction on the park. The developers had formed a corporation where the township supervisor and the attorney representing the township got shares in the corporation. The township tried to sell the land to the corporation for townhomes. The original municipality intervened and said they would take the township to court if they attempted to sell it for individual development.

On Pensacola Beach the argument was that conveyance to private individuals and commercial enterprises would create economic development, and therefore the public purpose restriction was met. However, there have been some significant Supreme Court cases which deal with public condemnation for economic development which involved using the condemnation power for a "public purpose" and as I pointed out in my example of a future transfer to a single parcel could be challenged by a party having standing as to the nature of that public purpose. A very different concept than what you have attempted to project in the original deed.

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I challenge you to show me EXACTLY WHERE in the report there is any reference to liabilities and/or costs as to Navarre Beach prior to the leasing of same by Escambia to SRC

A big duh. There are pages of financial analysis of revenue sources for the beach which compare the same to other jurisdictions. It proves exactly what I was saying that prior to the real estate tax PB was taxed less than other areas, and now is taxed the highest. Those revenues from the tax if available at the time of the lease transfer would have changed the Escambia decision to transfer the leasehold to Santa Rosa County. There were four businesses on Navarre Beach and the sales tax revenues were negligible. The decision to transfer to Santa Rosa County was based on limited revenues and liabilities to provide basic governmental services......a big duh remains as those revenue sources whether on Navarre or PB changed after the real estate taxes were approved.

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Page 55 shows county revenue contributions on PB. Almost half of that goes for public works and safety. Those same contributions pre real estate tax would require Escambia to provide the same to Navarre before the lease transfer which means expensive police protection and public works liability without the revenue flows from sales tax as Navarre did not have a commercial area which could generate the sales tax dollars and only had two gas stations. Perhaps an intergovernmental agreement on police protection could have been contracted but the fact remains the lease transfer prior to the real estate revenues was a sound economic decision. The Sunday alcohol sales on Navarre Beach was grandfathered in at the time of the lease transfer, but again there really were no sales tax, and the lease payments alone as seen by the referenced report was a pittance meeting liabilities.

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Floridatexan wrote:I appreciate that both of you explained the legalities...thank you.  I understand pretty well how things go around here, having moved here in '79.  I don't understand why Escambia County would just cede Navarre Beach to Santa Rosa...not that I don't get the reasoning behind it...just why?  The lady who was complaining about the property belonging to the CITIZENS of Escambia County...I believe she was correct.  If that is truly the case, then she has a legitimate argument...only on that part of it.  I still want to see PB leaseholders have ownership...Navarre Beach as well.  I also wonder what the ramifications are for commercial property, cost of insurance, etc.  Is this eminent domain?

Sorry, FT, didn't mean to overlook your post.  There are a lot of points and questions included here but I'll do my best.

OK, first you say you "get the reasoning" behind why Escambia would "just cede Navarre Beach to Santa Rosa," yet you still ask "just why?"  So help me out here, please -- I'm confused.  You get it, but you don't get it?  (Serious question; not trying to be a smart-a**.)   But let me try to help a little more:

Yes, Navarre Beach currently is owned by Escambia, and, as stated elsewhere, that means the citizens of Escambia are the owners to the same extent as they're the owners of any other county properties, including PBeach.  But in the case of Navarre Beach, there are basically two scenarios:  

If this new federal legislation doesn't pass, the lease of NB to SRC continues, the individual leases on NB continue renewing ad infinitum, and there is no control over nor responsibility for NB by Escambia County (nor does Escambia WANT to control that beach), nor does it reap any financial benefit therefrom.  

On the other hand, if the legislation does pass, it requires that NB be deeded to SRC -- NOT as a disallowed windfall profit sale, but as a simple at-cost passage of title -- and under this scenario Escambia (and its citizens) STILL have no control over nor responsibility for NB, nor, again, does our county reap any financial benefit.   SO, as Sea keeps telling you, THERE IS NO LOSS to Escambia either way.  You can't lose what you never really had, nor what never brought you any benefit anyway.  Do you see?

And passing title of NB to SRC under the provisions of the new legislation will allow that county to offer title to the leaseholders on that beach, which it currently is unable to do, and which you agree is the right thing to do on both beaches.

Can you see all of this a little more clearly now?  

Commercial property leaseholders will be treated the same - i.e. offered fee simple title to their land and buildings -- the same as residential properties, and that's only right also, I hope you also agree.

I can see no significant ramifications as to insurance, presuming you're talking about property insurances (wind, flood, homeowners).   Leaseholders are currently required by provisions in most of the leases to maintain and insure their improvements, since they are technically owned by the county. (Whether or not the leaseholders are all in compliance is another question.) I suppose that, absent the lease's provisions, and absent a mortgage requiring proof of insurance, a fee simple owner could opt not to insure, the same as any mainlander can (foolishly) do.   I guess I'm not really sure what you're asking here, so please feel free to set me straight.

No, this is not eminent domain, which is supposedly the taking of private property for a greater public purpose (I say "supposedly" since that concept has been stretched pretty thin at times; another subject entirely).

FT, does any of this help?  Do you still have questions?  Ask away! And please feel free to copy any/all of it to FB to perhaps damp down the dissenting voices, who are, I fear, making much ado about truly nothing.  Again: the bottom line is you can't lose what you never truly had.

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2seaoat wrote:Those revenues from the tax if available at the time of the lease transfer would have changed the Escambia decision to transfer the leasehold to Santa Rosa County.

You have NO WAY of knowing that for certain - that's simply your opinion. And it's entirely beside the point anyway. There is NO ARGUMENT here that leasing NB to SRC was the only smart thing to do, as Escambia never had any desire to be responsible for that geographically distant locale.

I swear, trying to talk with you is like trying to get hold of a greased pig.

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2seaoat wrote:Page 55 shows county revenue contributions on PB.  Almost half of that goes for public works and safety.

What you are looking at is the proposal that public works and safety, two of the Santa Rosa Island Authority's four major responsibilities on PBeach, now be taken over by the County under a scenario of reduced lease fees to the leaseholders (thus reduced revenue to the SRIA available for performing these services), and given the increased revenue to the county from the new ad valorem taxes.

In fact this is exactly what was done.

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I swear, trying to talk with you is like trying to get hold of a greased pig.


You have no way of knowing that for certain.

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2seaoat wrote:the fact remains the lease transfer prior to the real estate revenues was a sound economic decision.

And it likely would've still been a sound decision even had there been property tax revenues incoming.



Last edited by RealLindaL on 8/1/2017, 2:40 am; edited 1 time in total

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2seaoat wrote:I swear, trying to talk with you is like trying to get hold of a greased pig.


You have no way of knowing that for certain.

Thank heaven.

And on that note, after wiping the vision from my brain, I'm off to bed. Sleep well.

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and given the increased revenue to the county from the new ad valorem taxes.

Thank you.

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2seaoat wrote:and given the increased revenue to the county from the new ad valorem taxes.

Thank you.

Thank you for WHAT? I didn't say anything I haven't been saying all along.

And now, goodnight for sure.

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