FYI Miami: November 23, 2017
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CONSUMER PRICES SOAR: Consumer prices rose 1% in South Florida over the past two months, driving the 12-month rise to 2.7%, the US Bureau of Labor Statistics reported last week. The 1% gain in two months is the largest increase in South Florida since 1.5% in February 2013, according to bureau statistics. Leading the rise was a 12.7% increase in the price of motor fuels in September-October, the bureau said. Over the past year, prices South Florida consumers pay for energy have risen 10.5%, with motor fuel up 11.3% and electricity up 10%. The cost of shelter in South Florida had a two-month jump of 0.9%, part of a 4.6% rise in the past 12 months. Medical care costs in the area rose 8.8% in the past year, the bureau reported.
HOTEL REVENUES CLIMB: The Miami hotel market posted a 13.3% increase in revenue per available room in October compared to October 2016, while occupancy rose 11.3% year over year, a national rating service reported Monday. The Miami area’s revenue per available room in October was $120.79, far above the US average of $90.56, according to STR, a firm that monitors the hotel industry. The growth in occupancy pushed the total to 74.6%, again far above the US average of 69.6%, which itself “was the highest for any October on record,” according to Jan Freitag, an STR senior vice president. Houston had the largest increase by percentage in the US in revenue per available room, to $98.01, and 32.6% in occupancy to 83.8%.
UNDERGROUND POWER LINES COMING: Miami-Dade commissioners voted Tuesday to urge the Florida legislature to require that overhead electric lines be moved underground. “Nearly everyone in Miami-Dade lost power for many days after Irma,” said Daniella Levine Cava, who sponsored the legislation. “Those places that never lost power and those that got power back the quickest seemed to be communities with underground power lines,” she said. “Putting the lines underground is fair to ratepayers and will make FPL customers more resilient to the next storm.”
COUNTY INCURRING DRUG COSTS: County commissioners voted Tuesday to urge the Florida Legislature to approve Gov. Rick Scott’s budget of $50 million to combat the opioid epidemic and to urge the federal government to declare the opioid crisis a national emergency. “We have had a loss of life and health and incurred many costs locally,” said Sally Heyman, who sponsored the legislation. “Jackson has incurred over $10 million and we need to compile more data to understand the enormity of the problem and get reimbursed for our costs.” Ms. Heyman directed the county attorney’s office to do an assessment to determine the best course of action to pursue litigation against “manufacturers, distributers, insurance companies” and other contributing entities.