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Lee and Collier Counties were included in SmartAsset’s list of “Places Receiving the Most Value for their Property Taxes” in Florida. Lee County ranked No. 2 in the state, while Collier County ranked No. 10. The financial technology company ranked the places where home values have risen the most throughout a five-year period and included metrics on school ratings and effective property tax rates. According to the study, home values in Collier County were among those that rose the most in Florida. For additional information on the study, including the methodology and interactive map, click here.
The city of Naples has decided not to opt into Collier County’s emergency order mandating the use of masks or face coverings during the coronavirus pandemic. The decision was made on Wednesday during a special meeting of Naples City Council after about five hours of discussion and public comment. “Mandating was the kicker, for us to have to mandate it,” says Mayor Teresa Heitmann, who instead joins other council members in encouraging residents to be personally responsible during the public health threat. Council unanimously agreed to direct the city manager to expend up to $50,000 for an aggressive public relations campaign to encourage CDC guidelines for washing hands, sanitizing, social distancing and wearing masks in public when not able to socially distance.
In Florida, 3.2 million jobs were retained from the 393,028 of Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans funded to Florida small businesses, according to a report from Business.org. That’s $32 billion in funding, the report shows. The Paycheck Protection Program has funded over $519 billion to small businesses across the country. To produce the report, Business.org, scoured through loan-level data to find how many jobs were retained because of PPP loans, then broke down data to see how each state was affected by the PPP loans granted to their small businesses. For the full report, click here.
Ben Hill Griffin III, a founding father of Florida Gulf Coast University, died Saturday at the age of 78. Born in Frostproof, Griffin was an iconic agriculture business leader and a major benefactor in Southwest Florida. He donated 1,000 acres of land for what would become FGCU. In appreciation, Lee County commissioners renamed a portion of Treeline Avenue to Ben Hill Griffin Parkway in his honor. Griffin Hall at FGCU is also named for him. Griffin also directed his family’s company, Alico Inc., to donate $5 million to found Alico Arena at FGCU. The FGCU flag will fly at half-staff until midnight Friday in Griffin’s honor, WINK News reports. “(Ben Hill Griffin) will be missed by many and remembered fondly by all who were fortunate to come to know him. Our thoughts and prayers go out to Ben Hill’s family. He was a special man,” FGCU President Mike Martin says.
The Lee County School Board voted to move the first day of school to Aug. 31, with the end date being June 17, 2021. The board talked about the pros and cons for more than an hour during its meeting Thursday before voting unanimously to move the start of school. The board ultimately agreed they need the extra time to prepare for this unusual school year because of the pandemic. They also decided to give more time for parents to decide whether to send their kids to school or choose a virtual option. The deadline for that is now July 30, WINK News reports.
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