Time to vote on EDATE renewal

At its board meeting today, the Escambia County Commission unanimously approved placing a county-wide referendum on the ballot in November to extend the authorization for its EDATE program (economic development ad valorem tax exemptions).

The county has had an EDATE program since 1992, but according to Florida law, it must be renewed by voters every 10 years.

The county only has four active EDATEs. Navy Federal Credit Union has two for its new buildings on Beulah campus, in exchange for creating 5,000 jobs and investing $900 million in the site. They will expire in 2026 and 2029, respectively.

Southtowne, a $52 million downtown apartment complex built by Rishy and Quint Studer, has an EDATE that will expire in 2028.

The other active EDATE is for Ascend Performance Materials, which created 107 jobs with an $88.6 million investment. It expires at end of this year.

These EDATEs will remain active without a referendum, but without voter approval, the county loses the power to create new ones.