The Firm’s history and perspective provides a credibility and expertise that are relied upon by all who participate in the process, including members of the Legislature, legislative staff, executive agency personnel and, frequently, other lobbyists. This unique role allows PS&M to provide its clients with timely and relevant insights concerning the statewide significance of issues, potential allies, and support when developing their legislative agenda and priorities.
The Firm’s experience and exposure to state and federal policy provides our team of professionals the opportunity to develop unique approaches to problem solving. The Firm has initiated innovative strategies and coordinated numerous projects for local governments that previously had never been done before, meaning the Firm had to create the playbook and serve as the “air traffic controller”.
PS&M has a long history of representing urban local governments on transportation issues including: legislative appropriations, strategic Intermodal System Designation, Transportation Regional Incentive Programs grants and County Incentive Grant Program Funding. The Firm also represents MetroPlan Orlando (metropolitan planning organization for Orange, Osceola and Seminole Counties) and the Central Florida Regional Transportation Authority (LYNX), which is the regions public transit organization.
The Florida Municipal Electric Association was the Firm’s first client. Thirty years later, PS&M is proud to still provide their primary representation. In that time, PS&M has repeatedly turned back efforts to regulate municipals, to certify their service areas, to tax them as private utilities, to require divestiture of extra-territorial customers, to eliminate extra-territorial utility tax surcharges, and to reconstitute their governing boards. The Firm has successfully advocated for various municipal electric open records exemptions, amended municipal electric governing charters, secured substantial appropriations, and exempted all but the two largest municipals from state energy and conservation requirements. For the past eight years, the Firm has fought back attempts to put greater state regulations on municipal electric utilities and the Florida Municipal Power Agency.
PS&M has extensive experience in water policy and infrastructure funding. For example, the Firm worked to pass legislation allowing the City of Tampa’s reclaimed water to be eligible for alternative water supply funding, which was a major priority for Tampa. On behalf of the Trust for Public Land, a key partner in the support of funding for conservation, green space, and parks, the Firm has been part of long standing efforts to provide funding for Florida Forever and its key programs – the Florida Communities Trust and FRDAP.
The Firm was heavily engaged in Florida’s most recent major water policy bill (SB 552) on behalf of a variety of clients; including establishing springs program (Marion County, City of Archer, and the City of Gainesville), the codification of the Central Florida Water Initiative (City of Orlando, Orlando Utilities Commission, and the Toho Water Authority), and expansion of incentives for water conservation initiatives (WaterSmart).
During the 2016 Legislative Session, PS&M participated with a team of lobbyists representing entities in the Keys for the passage of the Keys’ Stewardship Act. The Act expanded the use of dedicated Everglades bonding authority for broad water quality and created a dedicated funding source for preservation of conservation lands. Likewise, the Team advocated in support of the Legacy Bill, which dedicated funding to bolster Everglades Restoration efforts. On behalf of the Team’s focus on Florida Keys’ water quality issues, our representatives continue to engage the Governor’s Office, the Department of Environmental Protection, the South Florida Water Management District, and the Army Corp regarding projects improving the flow of fresh water to the Florida Bay.
PS&M’s client base is comprised of vastly different sized communities, which define economic development in a variety of ways and often require different approaches to economic development. For example, on behalf of the City of Archer, a city with a population less than 1,100, the Firm was successful in acquiring multiple appropriations for the City to establish its first wastewater collection and treatment facility. Prior, the City of Archer was unable to permit and approve any significant business plans. In contrast, on behalf of the City of Orlando, the Firm expanded Florida’s professional sports facilities tax credit program to incentivize the establishment of Florida’s first Major League Soccer franchise (Orlando City Soccer Club).
PS&M brings a strategic and comprehensive knowledge of the statutes pertaining to the state’s land use and comprehensive planning laws. In the course of his legal practice, Mr. Peebles practiced local government land use law and is intimately familiar with urban service boundaries in comprehensive plans. Mr. Matthews was the lead lobbyist for comprehensive planning issues during his tenure at the Florida League of Cities.
One of the major achievements of the Firm was during the 2018 Session, when a last minute effort emerged in the House to circumvent Orange and Seminole County land use rules relating to their urban service boundaries. Due to the knowledge, experience, and dedication of the team, PS&M played a key role in the eventual defeat of the amendment.
PS&M is unrivaled when it comes to state and local public finance policy. The Firm has been involved in every major policy discussion on property taxes, local option tax sources authorized by the state legislature, revenue and expenditure constraints, as well as preservation of home rule revenues. In fact, the Firm has engaged in establishing a majority of the state’s dedicated funding initiatives and authorized local option revenue tools.
PS&M has leveraged its budget expertise and expansive coalition building strategies to create a number of new statewide funding opportunities for a variety of purposes. As a prime consultant for the Florida Association of Counties and the Florida League of Cities, the Firm specializes in getting state and federal policy makers to invest in important partnerships.
One of the Firm’s first achievements was establishing a dedicated funding source and establishing trust funds for the state’s affordable housing programs. Similarly, in 2012, the Firm coordinated Florida’s DC effort in passing the RESTORE Act to assist panhandle communities impacted from the BP Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill. More recently, the Firm played a key role in establishing the creation of the Job Growth Fund within the Department of Economic Opportunity.
In addition, the Firm advocates on behalf of a number of local governments and not-for-profit organizations to meet their individual budgetary goals.