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Florida’s Amendment 6 already giving some breathing room

Christopher Hodge can see some tax relief coming from Florida’s Amendment 6.

The amendment, adopted Nov. 4 by voters, gives him more financial leverage to keep running his boatyards, said Hodge, the president of E&H Boat Works, a full-service yard, and The Ways, a neighboring self-service yard, in Palm Beach Gardens.

“The taxes are the only reason we invented The Ways,” says Hodge, 56.

He says he started the self-service yard in 1984 to generate more income and pay rising taxes on his next-door property. Hodge’s mom and dad started E&H in 1946 on what is now 4.5 acres of prime waterfront on the Intracoastal Waterway. It is located just north of PGA Boulevard in what is known as the “PGA Corridor.”

Amendment 6 requires county assessors in Florida to set the taxable value of working waterfront on the basis of its actual use instead of its highest and best use so marine-related businesses can survive in neighborhoods where condominiums and other high-profit uses are driving up property values.

Hodge says he’s had at least five offers to buy his property in the last few years, one for a high-end drystack marina, another for part of mega-development that would have included a hotel, shops, restaurants and marina.

Hodge says none of the projects ever came to fruition.

Squeezed by taxes and other rising costs, Hodge says the offers are enticing — and he’s bit at a few of them, but Amendment 6 takes some of the pressure off.

“We’re prepared to stay,” he says.

— Jim Flannery



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