What the Heck are “Franchise Fees?”
Why do the residents of Golden Gate Estates need to know this?

Generally, almost all counties and municipalities in the 50 states of the United States collect “Franchise Fees”.  

Franchise Fees are payments to a Municipal or County Government from private utilities such as electrical power, gas, cable, and communication companies in exchange for the right to use the public “right of ways” beside paved roads.

So, Franchise Fees are not considered taxes (duh) because they are negotiated between the utility and the county. NOT determined by legislature.

As you would expect, the utility typically increases their rate to the end consumer or county resident by “passing through” this cost.

Counties and municipalities can no longer charge cable and telephone franchise fees in the State of Florida since 2007 (Click for info.) Cable and telephone businesses must obtain a franchise certificate from the State of Florida. Franchise fees are required to be “passed through” to customers since 1976 based upon a court case involving City of Plant City, FL.”

According to the 2019-20 adopted budget for Collier County $33 million was anticipated for “Franchise Fee” Revenues, or 4.6% of total revenues of a $722 million budget. The 2019-20 adopted budget document does not have enough detail to list all the Franchise Fee organizations that pay “Franchise Fees.”

So, it appears that Collier County Government receives an annual “Franchise Fee” for every power pole, gas line, utility line, etc that is in a Collier County designated “Right of Way.”  

The Permits were applied for in April 2020. The 2019-20 Budget was adopted September 2019. It appears quite a few people in Collier County Government knew about this well before the 125 foot poles showed up on 47th Ave NE this year.

So, Collier County Government will be receiving a negotiated rent fee for all the 125 foot poles on 47th Ave NE, Everglades Blvd from LCEC annually. LCEC will “pass through” this amount to the residents of Collier County, mostly District 5 and Marco Island.

Apparently, Estates residents will have to pay for growth in the RLSA in many UNKNOWN ways-LIKE HIGHER ELECTRIC BILLS. Maybe one day Collier County Leaders will include us in the planning on ALL THINGS that will happen to the resident.  

GGEACA has made a FOIA request for more information about the details of the Franchise Fees for LCEC. More to come….