Florida Trend | Florida's Business Authority

Tuesday's Daily Pulse

Florida begins session on Disney district, migrant flights

Republican leaders of the statehouse, in coordination with DeSantis, ordered the Legislature to convene in a special session to restructure the Reedy Creek Improvement District, as the Disney government is known. Lawmakers will also consider a proposal to create a state department focused on migrant transportation, after the governor flew a group of South American migrants from Texas to Massachusetts last year in protest of federal border policy. More from the Tallahassee Democrat and the AP.

DiBella tapped to lead Enterprise Florida

The Enterprise Florida Board of Directors on Monday formally elevated Laura DiBella to run the business-recruitment agency. DiBella, whose new title is secretary of commerce in addition to being president and CEO of Enterprise Florida, is the first woman to lead the agency. “She speaks both the corporate language and the economic-development language,” Enterprise Florida Vice Chairwoman Holly Borgmann said during Monday’s online board meeting.More from the  News Service of Florida and Florida Trend.

Should Florida outlaw rent control? Why some cities oppose the proposal amid housing crisis

As a new Florida bill calls for banning cities from being able to enact rent-control measures, it’s facing fresh scrutiny from elected officials who say it’s another instance of state overreach — especially as renters feel the squeeze of the housing crisis. The $811 million affordable housing bill, recently unveiled by Florida’s Senate president, would eliminate the possibility of rent-control laws — a limit on rent to prevent price gouging — by “deleting the authority of local governments to adopt or maintain laws, ordinances, rules, or other measures that would have the effect of imposing controls on rents.” [Source: South Florida Sun-Sentinel]

Sharks bit 16 people off Florida in 2022, topping the rest of the world

Sharks bit 16 people in unprovoked encounters off Florida’s waters last year, marking the highest reported number of bites than anywhere else in the world. Florida again had more reported bites than anywhere else on Earth, according to researchers with the University of Florida’s International Shark Attack File, which documents shark attacks each year. One of those was the attention-grabbing case in the Florida Keys when a Texas woman punched a shark to set herself free. “I felt like I was in a ‘Jaws’ movie at that moment,” Heather West said at the time. [Source: South Florida Sun-Sentinel]

Are you ready to file your taxes? What to know about Florida deadlines and extensions

Income tax season is upon us again, a sometimes stressful time of year when gathering your receipts, business dealings and W-2 forms could lead to a refund. The Internal Revenue Service opened its virtual doors to start receiving 2022 tax returns on Jan. 23. This year comes with a few surprises in the form of deadline extensions because of holidays and the destruction from last year’s hurricanes. [Source: Miami Herald]


› Darden wants more restaurants, but finding right chain won’t be easy
The Orlando company that owns Olive Garden and LongHorn Steakhouse is searching for another chain, but industry watchers say the right company at the right price will be hard to find. Darden Restaurants CEO Rick Cardenas said at the annual ICR Conference in Orlando last month the company is looking for someone willing to sell for the price Darden wants to pay, according to a report in Restaurant Business Magazine.

› CEO of St. Petersburg’s BayFirst Financial to retire; successor named
A publicly traded St. Petersburg bank has announced that its CEO is stepping down — and it already has his replacement lined up. BayFirst Financial Corp. announced Monday that Anthony Leo, who has been with the company since 2013, will retire at the end of the year. Company president Thomas Zernick will ascend to the CEO’s chair on Jan. 1.

› 10 things to know about the Disney-run tax district
At the time it was created, neither Orange nor Osceola counties had the services to provide power and water to the remote 25,000-acre property where the Walt Disney World Co. proposed building a recreational development. In 1967, the Florida Legislature, working with Walt Disney World Co., created a special taxing district — called the Reedy Creek Improvement District — that would act with the same authority and responsibility as a county government, according to district's website.

› Northeast Florida building permits in 2023 off 53% from a year ago
The Northeast Florida Builders Association reported that housing permits in January fell to 847 from 1,052 in December, a 19% drop. Compared to January 2022, when 1,457 permits were issued, the decline is 53%. The trade group said the decline reflects that of January 2019 before the 2020 pandemic. In January 2019, 805 permits were issued.

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› Broward’s $2.9 billion transportation overhaul, explained
A workshop at the Broward County Commission provided a hyper-modern vision for Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport, and a comparatively fuzzy one for solving the county’s issues with east-west traffic. Commissioners discussed a roster of five projects totaling $2.9 billion to overhaul the county’s public transportation. Plans include a new rail service connecting Downtown Fort Lauderdale to Miami-Dade, a sophisticated new transit nexus at the airport, and services for moving commuters from Broward’s suburbs to the busier coastline.

› Salvation Army, JEA working toward hydroponic produce container Downtown
Downtown could be a site for a hydroponic container farm to grow kale initially, and additional produce later, for Salvation Army participants and its food pantry. The Salvation Army of Northeast Florida and city utility JEA are working on a deal with Boston-based Freight Farms to grow produce in “a hydroponic, vertical farming environment” container called Greenery S. Freight Farms would set up a shipping container “smart farm” on a vacant lot at the Salvation Army campus and shelter.

› Sarasota sports pro returns to promote his latest endeavor
The day Mark Neifeld, the CEO and commissioner of the Sport Fishing Championship, helped bring in a 400 pound blue marlin on a fishing charter, his entire career changed. Neifeld's passion for saltwater fishing stemmed from growing up in the Sarasota-Bradenton area. Out of college, he went into the sports and entertainment industry starting out with the Tampa Bay Lightning. Since then, he’s gone on to work for the Atlanta Falcons, Dallas Cowboys and Texas Rangers.

› Viera official unveils vision for high-profile corporate park at Borrows West near I-95
During a February 2020 Melbourne Regional Chamber speech, Todd Pokrywa, president of The Viera Co., publicly announced plans to develop Borrows West, a future major "urban streetscape" area at the southwest quadrant of Interstate 95 and Viera Boulevard. Three years later, most of the lots across this 115-acre spread have been earmarked for construction or are under contract, Pokrywa said.