Proposed SB 1012 would require rules to impose increased fees for submerged land leases. SB 1012, filed by Senator Constantine along with the Committee on General Government Appropriations and the Committee on Environmental Preservation and Conservation seeks the imposition of new rules governing submerged sovereign land leases. If passed by the legislature, the Board of Trustees of the Internal Improvement Trust Fund would adopt rules that, among other things:
- Create a “standard” lease term of at least 10 years;
- Create extended lease terms of up to 25 years under certain circumstances;
- Create fees for new leases, expansions of existing leases and modification of uses permitted pursuant to existing leases;
- Change existing rates for leases allowing for designated slip (where boat slips are assigned) use to $.30 per square foot, if the property is not located within an aquatic preserve;
- Change existing rates for leases allowing designated slip use (assigned slips) to $.60 per square foot if the property is located within an aquatic preserve;
- Provide for automatic adjustments of up to ten (10%) percent in fees paid to the State every five (5) years based upon the Consumer Price Index (CPI); and
- Provide for late fees.
Some community associations are justifiably concerned about the possible increased rates, especially considering the current economic climate. The President of a condominium in Tierra Verde indicated fees payable to the State would increase by more than 400% for her community. We encourage community leaders to evaluate the impact of passage of this bill upon their communities. In this day and age of budget shortfalls, every increase in expenses impacts Association operations. It is also important to determine whether fee increases may be passed on to dock users or must be absorbed as a common expense.