As noted earlier this week, the 16-member Hillsborough County Legislative Delegation will be meeting this morning. On the agenda are eight “local bills” pertaining to entitites here in Hillsborough County. These bills are different from normal legislation filed in Tallahassee, in that they have to be approved at the delegation level before they can proceed to Tallahassee. Once passed, local bills are called “special acts” and have their own designation. Regular bills are known as “general laws.”
(NOTE: The bills are PDF files.)
The Aviation Authority manages the airports in Hillsborough County (TIA, Vandenburg, and Peter O. Knight). This bill will raise the threshhold for requiring a formal bid process from $15,000 to $30,000 for labor and materials and $50,000 for sureties, allowing more small businesses to contract directly with the Authority.
The PTC oversees taxi, limousine, van and ambulance services in Hillsborough County. Ths bill will allow the PTC to adopt rules to ensure the availablity of handicapped-accessible vehicles. Out of 613 taxis, permitted in Hillsborough County, there are an estimated 6 – less than 1% – that are accessible by handicapped patrons. Four of those cabs are used primarily for Medicaid clients of the transportation disadvantaged program.
(Local Bills 03 and 04 are discussed in another post.)
A permanent home for the History Center is still under construction, but will be owned by Hillsborough County and managed by a private, not-for-profit corporation. This bill will give the Center a special alcoholic beverage license, allowing them to sell alcohol at special events. The delegation has passed similar laws for the Museum of Science and Industry and the University Area Community Center Complex.
The Civil Service Board is responsible for coordinating the hiring of employees for “classified” positions by about two dozen entities in Hillsborough County. This bill, pushed by Hillsborough County Sheriff David Gee, will allow these entitites to designate one member of their Information Technology team as an “unclassifed” position, improving their ability to recruit and retain highly qualified IT professionals.
The City of Tampa’s Fire and Police Pension program was created by a local bill in 1974. This bill simply clarifies the manner in which the 13th check program is calculated. (Pensioners receive 12 monthly checks per year, the 13th check is a bonus when the investment fund earns above a certain level. For a more detailed explanation of the bill, click here.)
This bill simply revises the investment methodology for the general employee pension fund to conform the special act to general law and raises the multiplier for determining a retiree’s pension to 1.25. (The pension is determined by multiplying the multiplier – as a percent – times the average monthly salary over the last five years of employment times the years of service. So for an officer who retires after 30 years, and made an average of $60,000 per year over his or her last five years, the pension would be 1.25% x 60,000 x 30 = $22,500 per year.)
These six bills should be relatively non-controversial. Local Bill 08 could have some controversy, as changes to pension calculations can have retirees on the opposite side of the issue with active officers. However, I believe these bills will pass with flying colors.