Monday, August 7, 2017

Florida in focus: Shoppers appreciate Florida Sales Tax Holiday, but many don’t buy because of the event

By Watchdog News - August 07, 2017 at 07:54AM

News-Press: Shoppers appreciate Florida Sales Tax Holiday, but many don’t buy because of the event

Many shoppers on Sunday may not have been enticed to shop solely for the savings provided by the 2017 Florida Sales Tax Holiday, but they appreciated the extra 6 percent discount that came with the event.

The Florida Tax Free Weekend 2017 wrapped up three days of savings with shoppers able to save by not paying state sales on items ranging from clothes and accessories up to $60 each, shoes up to $60 a pair, and school supplies up to $15 each.

Deb Dolson, manager at Bass Shoes in Miromar Outlets in Estero, said her store had been busier than usual.

“A lot of people have been coming in,” Dolson said. “A lot of people don’t know either despite it being in the paper and on television.”

Still, she said, the 6 percent tax not being added to purchases was significant.

“It always helps, it brings people out,” she said.

Miami Herald: Drivers may fume, but many businesses are happy when the drawbridges rise

Like the Arch of Swords at a naval wedding, eight bascule bridges along the Miami River rise in succession as the Capt. Babun heads toward Biscayne Bay.

While motorists may gnash their teeth whenever the drawbridge goes up downtown, those on the river below know it is vital to their business — and helps a multitude of other local businesses from paint and parts suppliers to hotels and restaurants stay afloat.

The Miami River supports a multibillion-dollar marine industry of tugs, cargo ships, sports fishermen and pleasure craft owners. The most recent survey, taken 12 years ago by the South Florida Water Management District, shows those businesses “generated a $2.9 billion output, $1.5 billion in income, 24,000 related jobs and $136 million in tax revenues to the state of Florida.” A tour of the Miami River’s working community indicates the financial impact of those marine industries is destined to increase in the immediate future as several companies upgrade their facilities, concentrate on efficiency and add more employees.

The journey begins where the Miami River abuts the South Florida Water Management District’s salinity dam, which blocks the salty river from going into the Everglades. Capt. Rodolfo Gonzalez of the Miami River Towing Company maneuvers the Capt. Babun through a hairpin turn so that the tugboat faces east.

Orlando Sentinel: Seminole County looks to make it easier for bicyclists over the next two decades

Over the next two decades, an increasing number of Seminole County residents will use their bicycles instead of their cars to get to work, go shopping, catch a SunRail train or simply for exercising, according to a transportation analysis commissioned by the county.

Although Seminole has nearly 60 miles of recreational trails, the county will face a serious need for more bicycle-only lanes or wider sidewalks on major roadways to provide bicyclists with a safer way to travel in the coming years.

Nearly 200 miles of county roads will be rated a level “F” in accommodating bicyclists because of the lack of lanes or space dedicated for two-wheelers, according to the report by the Orlando engineering firm CH2M looking toward transportation needs by 2040.

Most of the deficient roads are in the southwest portion of the county that includes the large Sweetwater Oaks and Wekiva neighborhoods and the commercial corridors of state roads 434 and 436.