Pinellas County News Briefs - July 24, 2021

Palms of Pinellas Apartment Homes in Largo serve residents with mixed-income levels. Land for the project was purchased with the Penny for Pinellas 1-percent sales tax.

Forward Pinellas Board commits to creating an affordable Pinellas

The Forward Pinellas Board adopted the Advantage Pinellas Housing Compact at its board meeting on July 14, committing to creating and sustaining more homes that are affordable throughout the county.

Led by a partnership between Forward Pinellas and the Pinellas County Commission, the Compact is an agreement among local governments across the county to work together to address the critical shortage of affordable housing in the county and improve the lives of our current and future residents.

The compact is part of the Advantage Pinellas plan to address long-term, countywide needs for transportation, jobs and housing.

“Housing affordability is bigger than any one community, and we won’t solve it if we’re each going it alone. It’s essential that we identify common goals and strategies, use the same terminology, and have consistent communication throughout the county,” said Forward Pinellas Executive Director Whit Blanton.

By adopting the Advantage Pinellas Housing Compact, Forward Pinellas is committing to the following goals through all its long-term countywide land use and transportation planning decisions:

• Connect housing and employment.

• Plan for health impacts of housing.

• Focus on social and economic equity.

• Ensure accessibility for all ages and abilities.

• Develop broad support from public and private partners.

In 2020, Pinellas County and Forward Pinellas hosted the Homes for Pinellas Summit, which brought together industry leaders, elected officials, policymakers, planners, businesses, nonprofits and residents for a series of discussions on the challenges, opportunities and best practices for creating housing options that are affordable to everyone.

After the summit, local government planning experts put their words into action and created the Advantage Pinellas Housing Compact, with the ultimate goal for all local governments in the county to adopt the compact and work together to advance housing affordability solutions.

This effort comes at a time when public support for addressing the housing affordability crisis is at an all-time high.

In 2019, Pinellas County voters approved a renewal of the 1-cent Penny for Pinellas infrastructure sales tax, including a projected $80 million investment to preserve and develop more affordable housing. The vote signaled that residents support a long-term commitment of public funds to preserve and build homes that are attainable to all residents. By creating a framework to coordinate the efforts of all 25 local governments in Pinellas, the Advantage Pinellas Housing Compact will ensure that these and other financial resources are used as efficiently and effectively as possible.

Program information can be found at: www.HomesForPinellas.org.

For more information on Forward Pinellas, visit: www.ForwardPinellas.org.

Duke Energy gets OK to recover costs for Hurricanes Eta and Isaias

TALLAHASSEE — The Florida Public Service Commission recently approved an interim storm restoration recovery charge that will allow Duke Energy Florida LLC to recover costs for Hurricanes Eta and Isaias.

DEF reported recoverable costs of $16.7 million related to Hurricanes Eta, which hit in November 2020, and Isaias, which hit in August 2020.

Subject to refund pending commission review of actual restoration costs, a residential customer bill using 1,000 kilowatt-hours will reflect a 55-cent surcharge over a 12-month recovery period beginning in August.

Hurricanes Eta and Isaias weakened as they approached Florida, but still caused numerous power outages. Eta struck the Florida Keys and then moved into the Gulf of Mexico before hitting Florida again. Isaias skirted Florida’s east coast and heavily impacted DEF’s service territory.

The interim storm restoration recovery charge is subject to refund with interest pending PSC review of the utility’s actual restoration costs. The disposition of any over or under recovery, and interest, will be considered by the PSC at a later date.

Utilities typically are allowed the opportunity to recover storm-related costs, though they are required to show the costs were justified.

DEF serves more than 1.8 million retail customers in Florida.

For more information, visit www.floridapsc.com.