The Santa Rosa Island Authority staff recommended at the July 22 Administrative Committee meeting a 7.7 percent increase in annual lease fees. The Committee voted to move the discussion to the October Board Meeting.
The increase, which is tied to the Consumer Price Index, comes under review every five years, but not all leases contain the escalation clause. SRIA Director of Administration Robbie Schrock reported that “All new leases since 1975 have a provision that allows the SRIA to increase lease fees every five years by a vote of the Authority Board.”
There was no increase in 2015 and the 2010 increase was adopted with no effective date.
The leases with the escalation clause include 815 single family and 2,680 condominium units for a total of 3,495 residential leases, along with 71 commercial leases. The financial impact is a total increase of $135,644.
Pensacola Beach resident and Pensacola Beach Advocate Board Member Rhonda Dorfman sent a letter to the SRIA Committee asking the Board to detail the need for the increases and consider the timing.
“Many leaseholders and residents are also suffering from a lack of revenue due to government mandated closures. Some have lost their jobs as well or are working reduced hours. This is a very difficult time for everyone and surely does not seem to be the right one to raise lease fees just because you can,” wrote Dorfman. “Tighten your belts, like we have all had to, in these uncertain times.”