Gov. Ron DeSantis issued an Executive Order Friday suspending laws that would require residents of the collapsed Champlain Towers South condo in Surfside to pay property taxes.
The day of the collapse, DeSantis declared a state of emergency. The newest order, Executive Order 21-160, follows up by suspending several statutes “and their associated deadlines or requirements, for all taxpayers whose property was destroyed or rendered uninhabitable during the collapse … to the extent necessary to ease their tax obligations.”
Residents of the tower were set to receive letters in August notifying them of their estimated tax obligations. But with the site now uninhabitable, DeSantis is waiving laws regarding those notices and any associated deadlines those residents may have been facing.
The order also states the Governor “will request the Florida Legislature to explore additional legislative acts as may be necessary to alleviate the taxpayers’ property tax obligations.”
The office of Miami-Dade Property Appraiser Property Appraiser Pedro Garcia had said they were required to send out those notices in August under state law. The Governor’s action Friday will relieve the office of that responsibility and offer relief to residents impacted by the tragedy, which has claimed the lives of at least 79 people, with 61 others still unaccounted for.
A release from the Governor’s Office describes the order as waiving those tax obligations “indefinitely.” Should the move stick, and the residents be fully exempt from paying property taxes on those units, the move will cost the city a significant amount of money. It’s unclear from the Friday order whether the state will step in and cover those losses.
DeSantis spoke about the impact on families affected by the collapse at a news conference earlier this week.
“I don’t think the state’s ever going to quite be the same,” he said.
“You never want to go through the tragedies. But those folks there, they are leaving a very impressive legacy. And for those who are missing, for those who have been identified as being deceased, the impact that they’ve had — not just on Florida but through folks all across the country in the world — has really been profound.”