Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Another bank closes in Bradenton

Bad loans topple another local bank

Federal regulators on Friday closed Flagship National Bank of Bradenton, the region's fifth bank to fail in the Great Recession. more...

Orange County lacks money to buy, maintain sensitive land

Orange County may not be able to purchase more environmentally sensitive land — property now used to preserve wildlife corridors and watersheds for future generations — for years because of the county's budget crisis. more

PALM BEACH COUNTY - Even as the economic sky was falling,Palm Beach County commissioners last month approved a double-digit tax rate boost to avoid budget shortfalls. more...

Friday, October 16, 2009

The cork in the bottle

Foreclosure filings in Sarasota County spiked by 50 percent in September, even as an end-of-summer lull continued in Manatee and Charlotte counties.


During August, filings dropped by double digits in Sarasota and Manatee counties. The drop in Sarasota was nearly 34 percent from the previous month and 17 percent from the year before.

In Manatee, the monthly drop was 19 percent and up 3 percent from a year ago.

But some think the 50 percent spike in Sarasota County last month foreshadows another wave of filings.

The cork in the bottle is the different ways banks are processing their distressed properties, with some giving borrowers a three-month reprieve to stay in their homes while others are simply ignoring whole sectors where they have foreclosures to keep the toxic assets off their balance sheets. More...

In a good year, insurers still fail

Insurers on shaky ground

102 of the 210 property insurers operating in Florida have reported underwriting losses, according to Insurance Commissioner Kevin McCarty.

The fact that these insolvencies and underwriting losses occurred in a year in which a hurricane has not struck Florida seriously undermines confidence in the ability of private insurers operating in this state to financially weather a stormy future.

Sarasotan Bill Griffin, his family and businesses have been involved in one failed company...

Citizens and a state-run reinsurance fund remain undercapitalized. The exodus from Florida of brand-name national firms and the underwriting losses of nearly half the property insurers in the state suggest the private sector isn't going to provide adequate coverage unless conditions change.

Insurance is complex and, in Florida, there is no simple way to meet the challenges of making coverage affordable while keeping companies solvent.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Free Enterprise?

Banks set to become region's largest landholders

All in all, banks are set to become some of Southwest Florida's largest landholders.

So far in 2009, they have begun foreclosing on at least 5,500 acres in Manatee and Sarasota counties that were bought for $420 million during the boom. more...

How do banks think? See here.

Fla. faces $2.6 billion shortfall

Just months after patching together a budget by cutting spending, raising fees and gobbling up federal money, Florida lawmakers are bracing for more tough times next year.

Florida could face a budget shortfall of as much as $2.6 billion for the 2010-11 fiscal year that starts in July, as state tax collections continue sagging and costs increase for programs such as Medicaid.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Comp Plan Public Hearing Wednesday

Sarasota County Planning Services invites you to attend the first of several public hearings about proposed amendments to the county’s comprehensive plan before the Sarasota County Commission. The public hearing will take place at 1:30 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 14, in the commission chamber at the County Administration Center, 1660 Ringling Blvd., Sarasota.

At this public hearing, the county commissioners will take testimony on the following amendments, which will affect several chapters of the comprehensive plan:

  • Adding new policies and amending an existing policy to address nonconforming residential densities. The purpose of this amendment is to deal with situations where the density permitted within existing zoning districts exceeds the density allowed by future land use designations on the future land use map.
  • Amending policies to limit residential densities to nine units per acre maximum in the in the light office future land use designation.
  • Adding the adoption of three new impact fee ordinances and revising a policy regarding school concurrency.

We hope to see you there and please forward this message along to your friends and acquaintances that may have an interest in these proposed changes. If you aren't able to attend, but would like to send in your comments, e-mail them to More information about these amendments can be found on the county’s Web site at

Monday, October 5, 2009

Polk County Budget Blues

Trying To Manage County Like Business, Not Bureaucracy

“More entrepreneurial than bureaucratic” was the mantra County Manager Mike Herr stressed while discussing the county’s $1.6 billion budget with the Polk County Tiger Bay Club on Monday.

While the county hs been affected by growth and the economic recession, it also managed to keep the millage rate the same, at 7.4993 mills. The overall budget is $111 million less than the budget for last fiscal year, Herr said.

One of the ways the county has managed to cut costs was by eliminating 80 positions. “I hate to do that,” Herr said, “because that means less jobs for people who need them, but there was no other way.” More...

See also:

In Palm Beach County, some governments hold the line on pay raises
Meanwhile, workers for Palm Beach County governments are paying attention to what's happening in some cities in Broward County. While budget strains have ...

Nearly a quarter of Florida residents have no health insurance
Every surveyed city and county in the Tampa Bay area had a lower rate of insured residents than the national average, with the worst rates occurring in ...