It’s getting harder to make lemonade out of the lemons, but here is some island news. It’s not all good, but it’s real – followed by the action posted in the Sanibel & Captiva Multiple Listing Service since last Friday.
Red Tide Numbers Stay High in Southwest Florida; Bloom Extends About 130 Miles
The follow article is from the “Fort Myers News-Press. It was posted on-line and updated on Wednesday. The picture shown here was downloaded from Florida Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission.
“A strong red tide that’s lingered in the region since October is still producing high levels of toxins along the coast. The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission released its latest red tide report Wednesday. Counts in Southwest Florida have upwards of 1 million cells per liter and more in the past two months and are still matching or exceeding that level in many areas.
“The bloom now extends about 130 miles, from south Tampa Bay area to Marco Island and can be detected from space. The National Weather Service extended a beach hazard advisory for Lee, Charlotte, and Sarasota counties through Thursday evening. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Monday issued a breathing advisory for Southwest Florida that says irritation will be intense for the public in coastal Lee, Charlotte, and northern Collier counties.
“Some experts have said the red tide may last until winter when cold fronts from the mainland and windy conditions often break up the blooms. Red tide season typically runs from October to January or February, but this bloom has lasted for 10 months and has shown no sign of dissipation.
“Counts along Southwest Florida have ranged from background levels to 1 million cells per liter and higher. Fish kills and breathing irritation in humans can start once levels reach 10,000 cells per liter, according to FWC. This bloom has become much stronger along the coast since the first of June. Millions of pounds of fish and marine wildlife have been collected from Lee County beaches just this month. Hundreds of sea turtles have died in Southwest Florida from the bloom, so have manatees, dolphins, and even a whale shark.
“High counts extend at least 15 miles offshore, according to the Sanibel-Captiva Conservation Foundation.
“The University of South Florida’s college of Marine Science predicts that the bloom will move to the south and toward the Naples area over the next three days.”
Wednesday Fishing Report from Charlie Sobczak
I bet some of you also are fans of local author (and Realtor®) Charlie Sobczak. He has written some terrific books including “Living Sanibel” which The SanibelSusan Team often gives as one of our closing gifts. Another of his, that I especially enjoy, is “Six Mornings on Sanibel” (published in 1999, but still available on Amazon). It takes place at the fishing pier. “Way Under Contract” is great too – particularly if you like real estate stories. If you read this one, you may think some of the characters are real islanders.
Charlie is also a pretty serious fisherman so it was good late yesterday to see his below Facebook post. This is his pix too.
“While I seldom post fish pics I felt that since all we are seeing on Facebook these days are images of horrid, decaying fish it might be refreshing to see that the offshore waters are still untouched by this massive red tide and algae bloom. We had perfect conditions yesterday, August 22nd, 2018, when we headed out 32 miles west of Redfish pass with Captain Nate Buffam and crew. The water is crystal clear blue out there and the fishing was fantastic. The dirty water stretches from shore to about 15-18 miles then, after that, we saw “live” loggerhead turtles, dozens of bottle nose dolphins, flying fish, jellyfish, frigate birds and bait. Not everything is lost but if we continue to allow this unabated dumping of toxic water I fear the worst in the years to come. Please support the Captain’s for Clean Water Fundraiser on Saturday afternoon at the Clam Shack on Sanibel.”
Thursday & Friday Water Reports from Local Gals
I know you can’t believe everything you read on Facebook, but if it comes from folks you know and it includes videos, it’d pretty hard to beat it.
Last night after work, Royal Shell Vacation’s Kris Slagle posted: “Just saw two bait pods on the West side of the Sanibel Causeway C span, and birds feeding on them! NOT saying it’s all perfect, but saying it’s some positive news! And hundreds of birds feeding on the mud flats!”
Then, early this morning Sanibel Holiday’s General Manager, Rebecca Cosentino posted a video of her walk down the beach access and along the gulf in front of Loggerhead Cay condominiums. She said that they have several check-ins there scheduled tomorrow so a personal visit was the best way to report the conditions. Though she said she is sensitive to red tide, she noticed no smell and had no eye or throat irritation. The video was early 7:45 a.m., but she wasn’t alone. The video showed some folks in the water and a few joggers and shellers. Unfortunately, it also showed a few dead fish – several puffer fish, baitfish, and a couple of eels. With winds blowing onshore that isn’t surprising, particularly after reading Charlie’s posting from the day before.
Then a couple of hours later, Select Vacation Properties’ Patience Rodriguez posted a similar video of her beach walk taken today in front of Sundial Resort. The water here showing better color and looking clearer than it has recently. She said that she is asthmatic, but similarly noticed no smell and had no breathing difficulties. A couple of small pufferfish were along the waterline here too, but very few. She encouraged listeners to Text MYSANIBEL to 52886 to participate in the call-to-action to stop the Lake O discharges (which have started up again).
So, it’s probably safe to say that the beaches continue to look better, but we aren’t out of the woods. We all need to keep the pressure on and respond to each and every call to action.
After seeing these gals’ gulf-side videos, about 1 p.m. I checked the bayside beach near the lighthouse and fishing pier. It’s looking good there too – likewise no smell and I saw no dead fish or wildlife – just one lone fisherman on the fishing pier and a handful of beachgoers at Lighthouse Beach.
Yet, it’s a gorgeous day and we all hope that it only continues to get better.
Stopped at my house on the way back to the office to be sure the canal there is looking good. Taken today, this is sooo much better than just a week ago. Sure hope it continues.
Now to some other good news – taxes and hurricanes.
Lee County Notice of Proposed 2018 Real Estate Property Taxes
Lee County property owners recently were mailed their annual TRIM (Truth in Millage) notices. In compliance with Florida Statutes, this document is required to advise of the property’s valuation as of January 1, 2018 and its proposed ad valorem taxes for the year. Ad valorem taxes are based on the value of the property with taxing authorities determining the tax rate, or millage, based on the money needed to fund their budgets.
If property owners have questions about their valuation, exemptions, classification or characteristics of their property, they are encouraged to contact the Lee County Property Appraisers Office (www.LeePA.org) at 239-533-6100. If unable to resolve a matter as to market value, classification, or an exemption, a petition for adjustment with the Value Adjustment Board may be filed. Online filing is available, but petitions must be filed on or before September 10, 2018.
Hurricane Season Peaks in Sept. – Got the Right Insurance?
While most of us are counting down to the end of hurricane season (Nov), Florida Realtors® posts reminders that the peak time is coming up.
The below article was posted in their on-line news on Tuesday.
“ORLANDO, Fla. – Aug. 21, 2018 – Keeping up with property insurance coverage in hurricane-prone Florida can be tricky, to say the least.
“To help sort things out as summer and the storm season heat up, we spoke with Locke Burt of Ormond Beach-based insurer Security First and Doug Iannarelli of travel club AAA’s insurance division.
“Question: What do I need?
“After many hurricanes, including Matthew and Irma in the past two years, insurers said they saw claims filed under homeowners’ policies that could only have been covered under flood policies. Rising water that makes it into your home will only be covered if you have flood insurance, Burt said.
“But if a tree limb or other debris hit your house and creates a hole through which rainfall could enter, that likely would fall under windstorm coverage.
“Also, weigh the amount of coverage you need – and how low you need your deductible to be, given the savings or credit limit you would have available if an emergency hits.
“Although few studies have shown a strong link between hurricanes and increase in number of births nine months later, labor and delivery nurses say the phenomenon is the real thing.
“Question: What’s the newest flood coverage?
“Alternatives to the federally backed National Flood Insurance Program are increasing. More than two dozen insurers are issuing private flood coverage – which might save you money or might simply make it easier to file claims if a storm causes wind and water damage. Security First is among a few insurers that add flood coverage as an option, called an endorsement, on homeowners’ policies rather than require it as a separate policy.
“New mapping technology that breaks down the entire country into blocks about the size of a tiny house makes flood maps obsolete, Burt said, and enables private insurers to issue a flood-coverage quote more accurately and easily. The private policies are an expansion of those that traditionally have been written on $1 million-plus homes.
“Question: How do I fill in the gaps?
“Whether buying down the deductible of your existing homeowner and windstorm coverage or seeking another policy to plug that potential financial gap, you can reduce the financial risk storm damage can pose.
“New policies called parametric coverage can use mapping technology to determine the storm conditions that hit your location and quickly pay a flat amount directly to you. This can spare the trouble of waiting for an adjuster before getting a check, but it also is designed to just provide enough coverage to make up for your deductible. “StormPeace and Cat4Home are two such providers mentioned in a recent Sun-Sentinel story.
“Question: What are the rules?
“Keep in mind: Your property damage will most likely be your own claim. Unless you can prove the tree limb that blew over from someone else’s yard is sitting on your living room floor because your neighbor was negligent, you’ll be filing that claim on your own policy.
“Deductibles can be set for the calendar year, much like health insurance. So even if your deductible is $7,500 and one storm causes $6,000 in damage, get it on the record in case you have another claim later in the year.
Get claims filed quickly, as you might have only a few weeks to submit damage to your insurer. Check with your agent on the amount of time your policy allows – then don’t let busy signals or Internet outages deter you.
“You can’t buy insurance at the last minute. Whether you’re comparing rates or looking for coverage you’ve never had before, insurers have the right to wait until after a storm passes (or misses the area) once it’s coming close to Florida.
“Question: Should I shop around?
“Yes. Innovative policies, such as those mentioned above – or new insurers, such as Farmers which plans an August debut for Florida homeowners, according to its website – can help you save money.
“Use ratings companies such as A.M. Best or Demotech to see how financially stable the insurer is. The state’s Office of Insurance Regulation has this resource and others posted on its website.”
Copyright © 2018 The Orlando Sentinel (Orlando, Fla.), Bill Zimmerman. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.
Pre-Season Closings & Late Summer Projects
- Island Cinema – will be closed for cleaning & maintenance from Sep 6 to Oct 5.
- Pointe Santo – Pointe Santo’s building concrete restoration project Is underway. Buildings A and B were done last year. This year, from Aug 11 to Oct 19, Buildings D and E will be done. Building C is scheduled for 2019.
- Sanibel Community House – will be closed for maintenance Mon through Fri, Sep 10-14.
- Sundial West – Sundial West has had several projects underway since Jul. Completion is expected mid-Nov. Some buildings are being painted, pavers are being installed in parking areas, and electrical and elevator work are being performed. Also, their pool is scheduled to be closed Sep 24 to Oct 5, but owners/guests may use the resort pool then.
- Traders Gulf Coast Grill & Gifts – Is closing Sun, Aug 26, for their annual break. They plan to reopen Tuesday, Oct 2.
- The Sandbar Steak & Seafood – Is already closed and reopening Wed, Oct 3.
Sat Aug 25 – CROW’s Walk on the Wild Side at Lakes Regional Park at 7330 Gladiolus Dr., Fort Myers from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. to raise awareness about the organization and continue the celebration of its 50th anniversary. Admission & activities free, fees for city parking. In the amphitheater: Wildlife Rescue 1012 at 10:30 a.m. and again at noon; Turtles of Florida at 11 a.m.; Owls of Florida at 11:30 a.m. Three pavilions will be set up with activities and info on different kinds of wildlife. CROW’s tent will offer info on volunteering and student programs. More info at www.CROWClinic.org .
Sat Aug 25 – Fundraiser for Captains for Clean Water at The Clam Shack on Sanibel from 2 to 8 p.m. featuring entertainment by local musicians, 50/50 raffle and Chinese auction. Captains for Clean Water is a non-profit organization focused on improving water quality. More info about them online at www.captainsforcleanwater.org .
Sep 28-30 – USTA Southwest Florida Clay Court Championships will be at Sundial Beach Resort. This is their 3rd year hosting the event. The tournament includes a Saturday evening party and trophies. Players can register online at www.tennislink.usta.com , using tournament ID No. 150046618. Deadline is Sep 26.
Sanibel & Captiva Islands Association of Realtors August Membership Meeting
Attendance was off and only three properties (including our new Pointe Santo listing) were open for Realtor® Caravan following yesterday’s Association of Realtors® monthly breakfast meeting.
We got good information, though, about the upcoming Lee County School Board’s Half-Cent Sales Tax referendum that is on the Nov 6 ballot. Speakers were the county’s Superintendent of Schools, Dr. Gregory Adkins and School Board Member (& Florida Gulf Coast University adjunct professor) Chris Pattricca. Here are my take-aways, with some interesting tidbits:
- Lee County is the 9th largest school district in Florida, also the 32nd largest in the U.S. It has 95,000 students
- In 1886, there was just one school in SW Florida (with 56 students) and it burned to the ground. This area then was part of Monroe County so when students began running amok, a group of parents got together and went to Key West asking for a new school to be built. Their request was denied. Lee County was incorporated in 1887 with the need for a school being the driving force for that action.
- Today, Lee County has 96 schools, 121 counting Charter Schools. There are 12,000 school employees (closer to 14K when counting substitutes).
- School population is growing at the rate of 1,500 to 2,000 students per year.
- Florida is 50th in the nation in dollars spent on education.
- Today 40% of Lee County’s students have English as their 2nd language.
- When school money comes from real estate taxes, often a disproportionate amount is received from high-end communities, so their schools are better. Here, the county spends $7,700 per year per child which ranks us 47th in the nation.
- Though enrollment has increased since 2006/2007 from 70K students to 95K, capital funding has gone down from over $300M to just over $100M.
- This proposed amendment is to increase the sales tax in Lee County by a half-cent, from 6% to 6.5% per dollar, to fund school capital projects. The proposal calls for a limit of 10 years with the tax expiring December 31, 2028. Approximately $59 million annually would be raised, paid for by everyone who purchases taxable goods. Exempt items like groceries and medications would not be taxed, and the additional half-percentage tax would only be applied to the first $5,000 for large purchases.
- It’s estimated that 30% of the revenue generated would come from tourists.
- The money from this sales tax will be used strictly for capital expenditures to build two new elementary and middle schools, one new high school, rebuild an elementary and middle school, to install school camera systems, hearing-impaired lock-down lights, fire alarm systems, and HVAC systems. It cannot be used to fund salaries, benefits, and training for faculty/staff/administrators, classroom materials, district and school services, administrative technology, or charter school buildings, repairs or improvements.
More info at www.leeschools.net/changeforchange.
Sanibel & Captiva Islands Multiple Listing Service Activity August 17-24, 2018
2 new listings: Sundial West #H209 1/1 $545K, Surfside 12 #A1 3/2 $869K.
1 price change: Island Beach Club #320F 2/2 now $749K.
1 new sale: Atrium #201 3/3 listed at $1.349M.
1 closed sale: Blind Pass #G203 2/2 $440K.
No new listings.
8 price changes: 1520 Centre St 3/2 now $449K, 531 Piedmont Rd 3/2 now $455.5K, 585 Lake Murex Cir 3/2 now $659K, 1043 Sand Castle Rd 3/2 now $725K, 1740 Middle Gulf Dr 3/3 now $979K, 430 Glory Cir 4/4.5 now $1.445M, 784 Limpet Dr 4/3 now $1.875M, 1133 Golden Olive Ct 3/3.5 now $2.442M.
2 new sales: 1521 Wilton Ln 3/2 listed at $759.5K, 2857 Wulfert Rd 4/5 listed at $1.598M.
2 closed sales: 4772 Tradewinds Dr 3/2.5 $795K, 413 Bella Vista Way 4/4 $2.4M.
1 new listing: 595 Piedmont Rd $209.9K.
No price changes or new sales.
No closed sales.
1 new listing: Beach Cottages #1407 2/2 $1.195M.
1 price change: Bayside Villas #5228 1/2 now $399.9K.
No new sales.
2 closed sales: Tennis Villas #3129 1/1 $284K, Beach Villas #2423 1/1 $535K.
1 new listing: 11523 Andy Rosse Ln 5/5.5 $2.499M.
No price changes, new sales, or closed sales.
Nothing to report.
This representation is based in part on data supplied by the Sanibel & Captiva Islands Association of Realtors® Multiple Listing Service. Neither the association nor its MLS guarantees or is in any way responsible for its accuracy. Data maintained by the association or its MLS may not reflect all real estate activity in the market. The information provided represents the general real estate activity in the community and does not imply that SanibelSusan Realty Associates is participating or participated in these transactions.
Here’s hoping for more good news next week!
Susan Andrews aka SanibelSusan