Transparent Pensacola

  1. Vernon Stewart

    Public Information Officer

Public trust is a critical dynamic of a world-class city. From day one of his administration, Mayor Hayward has made a firm commitment to making city government more open, accountable, and accessible to the residents of our great city. This page is designed to accomplish two critical elements:

  • transparency — access to information about what is really happening; and
  • accountability — ways to hold decision-makers and partners accountable for the decisions we make.
Current Issues

Demolition Moratorium
  • At least 689 property owners could be affected (owners of buildings over 100 years-old that are not in a special review district).
  • Want to make sure that they understand what is being proposed and how it could impact them
  • Need to know if this will pose an undue burden on property owners.


Sunday House

On June 6, 2016, the City of Pensacola was served with a Petition for Declaratory Judgment and Injunctive Relief filed by the current owners of the John Sunday House and the potential developer of the John Sunday House Project. The lawsuit asks the court to decide the proper application of the city code pertaining to the Architectural Review Board decision-making process. The case has been assigned to Circuit Judge Gary L. Bergosh. 

At the emergency hearing for a temporary injunction, Judge Bergosh informed the parties that he would enter a temporary injunction preserving the status quo between the City and the owners and developers pending his final decision in the case, which he anticipates rendering in approximately one month. 

As a result of the Judge's decision, to be reflected in an order of the Circuit Court currently being prepared, the City is required to cancel the Zoning Board of Adjustments hearing scheduled for June 15, 2016, at 3 p.m. at City Hall. 

The City will be posting all court documents associated with this matter here, as they are filed with the court. 
 
Lawsuit pleadings to date
Doggy Dining

  • State Law (FS 509.032(7)) normally preempts and prevents local governments from regulating health issues pertaining to restaurants, but the state created an exemption for local governments to allow dogs in outside areas under extensively defined conditions (FS 509.233).  These state-mandated conditions are all contained in the City’s permitting ordinance.  Although a city or county is not required to allow dogs at restaurants, if they choose to do so they must adhere to the requirements set forth as minimum requirements in the statute.
  • Pursuant to statute, the permits must be issued by “the governing body of the local government.”
  • As it stands currently, City Council is the body who would approve a permit for dogs in restaurants.
City Files Declaratory Judgement
  
Click here for all associated documents pursuant to public records law.
 
As the owner of Pensacola International Airport, the City of Pensacola has filed for a Declaratory Judgement in Federal Court to obtain answers to legal questions between the City of Pensacola, Emerald Coast Utilities Authority (ECUA), and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).

The questions stem from FAA regulations requiring all entities using airport property to pay for the use of the property. Should an airport fail to enforce or comply with FAA regulations, the FAA has the authority to levy penalties against that airport that could result in the withholding of grants necessary to maintain and upgrade facilities, the repayment of previous grants, and the assessment of civil penalties.

ECUA operates three water production wells located on Pensacola International Airport property. These wells produce water that is supplied to Escambia County customers for a fee. Given its regulations and actions taken at other airports, the FAA has communicated to Pensacola International Airport that ECUA must pay Pensacola International Airport for the use of the airport property where the three water producing wells are located. In addition, the FAA has communicated to Pensacola International Airport that ECUA also must pay Pensacola International Airport  some unspecified percentage of the revenues ECUA derives from the sale of the water being produced from airport property and supplied to ECUA customers.

While the property in question was acquired for the Pensacola International Airport and the FAA did not release the property from FAA property transfer restrictions, ECUA contends that it owns or should own the land surrounding two of the three wells located on Pensacola International Airport property and is not required to pay Pensacola International Airport for either the use of the property or the water extracted from the three wells.

The City of Pensacola and ECUA have been working to resolve this issue for some time, but have been unsuccessful in finding a solution. The FAA's ongoing inquiries regarding the status of the matter and the need to timely resolve the issues now require the City of Pensacola to file for a Declaratory Judgement asking the Federal Court to answer the legal questions pertaining to property ownership and provide guidance to the City on its compliance with Federal law and FAA regulations. According to Mayor Hayward:

"We haven't been able to come to an agreement with ECUA on what the City's obligations are. ECUA believes that it should own the property surrounding the wells and that it is not required to pay for the use of the property or for the fair market value of water extracted. The FAA tells us that, if ECUA doesn't pay a concession fee, the City could be penalized for revenue diversion. We just want the court to resolve the legal issues and to tell us what our obligations are."

Fish House
 
We are governed by the rule of law and we are bound to follow orders of the court. However, this involves the loss of millions of dollars of revenue to the City.
City Staff Salaries

Here is a link to Top 8 City Employee Salaries
RFP 15-025 (Hawkshaw) Development Opportunity
  
The Hawkshaw property is a two acre vacant lot for sale in downtown Pensacola. 

The three finalists are the ITEX Group from Port Arthur, Texas and two local companies: Granger Development and Whitesell-Green/H+H Building Group. The Community Redevelopment Agency (CRA) issued a Request for Proposals (RFP) last year for plans and bids for purchase.  The RFP has since closed.

What is the CRA?
CRA Meetings and Agendas
July 13th, 2015 CRA Meeting - Hawkshaw Proposal Selection Process - Video

On March 23, 2016, NewsRadio's Andrew McKay spoke with Assistant City Administrator Keith Wilkins about the (then upcoming) Public Meeting/Charrette held on March 29th. Listen to the Podcast.
Hawkshaw-Property-View
City of Pensacola position on gas tax
 
  • The city faced a deadline to file the appeal and we moved forward with borrowing $15 million.
  • We needed to preserve our position in the event that efforts to resolve this dispute don’t work. If we do not protect our position, our taxpayers will stand to lose approximately 7.3 million dollars in revenue.
  • It's important to remember that this dispute was brought on by the county last year when it abruptly moved to reduce the city's share of the gas tax revenues from 18 percent to 5.4 percent.
  • You can't just yank away dollars that are distributed from the state of Florida that we all pay into and think that they get to dictate what we get. 
  • We respectfully disagree. That's just not something we could accept and we want to go down a different path.
VTMAE Status
  
  • The process of this project is a little more complicated when the parent company is in Singapore.
  • Groundbreaking dates will be finalized soon.
  • City Staff cannot thank enough the architects, engineers, project managers, VT staff, and others for all of their work and collective efforts on designing this major piece of economic development for our area.
Enterprise Fund

Mayor Hayward joins multiple Government Leaders in endorsing the creation of a new Florida Enterprise Fund. The Florida Enterprise Fund intends to accomplish multiple goals, which includes creating new jobs and bringing diversity to Florida's economy.

Governor Rick Scott will be working with the Florida Legislature in the upcoming session to create this new fund.

To learn more, read: