Advocacy at Work
Author: Amanda Hoang
AAGO Director of Public Affairs and Communications
As you may remember from our last issue, Fire Assessment Fees are becoming increasingly more common in central Florida. A Fire Assessment Fee is an additional source of revenue that local governments are starting to utilize to pay for or supplement their fire protection services budget. Typically, local governments pass a Fire Assessment Fee ranging from $50-$200+ per residential unit depending on the municipality. This per residential unit fee quickly escalates for an apartment community with dozens or hundred or apartment homes.
Most recently, AAGO learned the City of Fruitland Park (Lake County) is exploring a Fire Assessment Fee for the 2016-2017 tax billing period. The Fruitland Park City Commission will meet in January to determine if the City will move forward with a Fire Assessment Fee or potentially dissolve its Volunteer Fire and Rescue Department for the next budget cycle. Rest assured, AAGO will continue to monitor this issue closely and update members on any new developments.
In addition to monitoring Fire Assessment Fees, AAGO is continuing to track the City of Orlando’s progress on an energy benchmarking ordinance. Orlando is one of ten cities participating in the City Energy Project (CEP). The CEP is a national initiative that seeks to improve the energy efficiency of large buildings. Cities that are associated with the CEP often implement a policy that requires buildings of a certain size to report their energy (and sometimes water) consumption on an annual basis. Property owners use the Environmental Protection Agency’s Energy Star Portfolio Manager® tool to track and report their consumption. Once the data is collected, it is publicized by the local government and available for potential renters or prospective buyers to review.
Orlando staff informed AAGO that the City plans to introduce an energy benchmarking ordinance in early 2016, which will directly impact the multifamily industry. AAGO is thankful to have a positive working relationship with the City of Orlando and looks forward to providing feedback on the ordinance once a draft of the legislation is available.
In preparation for the ordinance draft to be released, members are highly encouraged to visit www.AAGO.org and read the AAGO White Paper that discusses how this issue will impact the apartment industry. This White Paper can be found under the Resources Tab: Government Affairs, Central Florida, Orlando City Energy Project.
The Florida Legislature’s regular session will convene on January 12th. Since the legislative session is starting earlier than usual this year, the Florida Apartment Association’s (FAA) Legislative Days will take place on Tuesday, January 26th and Wednesday, January 27th in Tallahassee.
FAA Legislative Days is a valuable opportunity for members from all facets of the apartment industry to communicate directly with lawmakers in Tallahassee. We hope you will join AAGO and your colleagues from across the state in Tallahassee for this important advocacy event! Every year, AAGO hosts a send-off breakfast prior to taking a luxury bus to Tallahassee as an association for Legislative Days. This year, we are excited to announce that we’ve added a Legislative Days Attendee Workshop on January 13th from 9:00 a.m. – 11:00 a.m. (Breakfast will be provided). This workshop will provide attendees with an overview of the legislative issues we will be discussing with lawmakers in Tallahassee, tips for conducting a successful meeting with legislators and what to expect for FAA Legislative Days. I hope you will join your colleagues from across the state for this important advocacy opportunity!
Registration in available online at www.FAALegislativeDays.org and the deadline to register is January 13th! If you have any questions regarding Legislative Days, please feel free to email Amanda@aago.org.
I also want to take this opportunity to thank everyone who participated in Champagne & Diamonds, our annual Florida Apartment Association Political Action Committee (APAC) fundraiser at the Golden Key Awards. Thanks to you, we raised INSERT AMOUNT HERE! These important funds will ensure the apartment industry has a strong voice in the policymaking process at the local and state level.
Did you know your APAC dollars were recently put into action to support Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer’s 2015 re-election campaign? On October 27th Mayor Dyer attended AAGO’s Legislative Committee meeting to discuss his upcoming election, the development boom in Orlando and the City’s plan for public transit. After the meeting, AAGO presented Mayor Dyer with an APAC contribution for his campaign, which he won on November 3, 2015 with 63% of the vote. A special thanks to all of the AAGO members who attended the meeting with Mayor Dyer and represented the apartment industry to one of central Florida’s most influential leaders.
The 2016 NAA Capitol Conference will take place on March 8th and 9th in Washington, DC. This annual event provides members with a unique opportunity to experience the federal legislative process first hand while representing the apartment industry on Capitol Hill.
The events on March 8th will include policy issues training, advocacy orientation and a keynote speaker. On March 9th, attendees will conduct a Lobby Day on Capitol Hill to share the apartment industry’s views with members of Congress. For more information on this important advocacy event, please visit www.naahq.org.
Did you know, AAGO is always looking for new members to join our Legislative Committee? If you have an interest in learning more about how various policies at the local, state and national level impact the apartment industry, please email Amanda@AAGO.org to get involved on the Legislative Committee. We would love to have you join us and share your input on these important issues impacting the multifamily industry!