My Florida C F O

Dear Fellow Floridians:

In two weeks, we’ll be heading down to South Florida to host our annual unclaimed property auction. It’ll be my first auction as your CFO, and I’m told that you won’t want to miss it! If you’re a collector of jewelry, baseball cards, or rare coins, you’re guaranteed to find something you like in this year’s inventory of nearly 50,000 auction items. Join Florida's Treasure Hunt

The items come from safe deposit boxes that have gone unclaimed for years despite our work to return them to their owners. Between our office and the bank that once housed the boxes, we search for five years for the rightful owners before any items go to auction.

When they do, we put the amount of the sale into an account in the owner’s name, so that if the owner ever comes forward, they can still reclaim their funds. 

These items make up just a small part of the unclaimed property that we take in. Most accounts are intangible, like uncashed payroll checks or old utility deposit refunds that you may have forgotten existed.

It’s all your hard-earned money, and the team works hard to get it back in your hands. They do a fantastic job, and during the last 12 months, they paid more than 513,000 claims totaling $313 million. It’s easier than you might think to lose track of an account, and one in five Floridians has an unclaimed account in their name.

Take a couple of minutes this week to visit our website and search for accounts in your name and your family members’ names. You can search and claim your account for free if you find one. www.FLTreasureHunt.org is the website, and companies transfer unclaimed accounts to us every day, so take a look on a regular basis.

The auction is set for Saturday, July 29 at the Sheraton Suites at Cypress Creek, located at 555 NW 62nd Street in Ft. Lauderdale. The items will be previewed all day on Friday, so come by and decide what you’d like to bid on.

We hope to see you in South Florida!

Sincerely,

Jimmy Patronis
Jimmy Patronis
Chief Financial Officer
State of Florida



CFO Patronis Launches Firefighter Grant Program with Check Delivery to Monticello Volunteer Fire Department

On Tuesday evening, Chief Financial Officer and State Fire Marshal Jimmy Patronis launched Florida’s Firefighter Grant Assistance Program with a check delivered to the Monticello Volunteer Fire Department. The first of its kind, the grant program will benefit volunteer fire departments across Florida by making funding available to purchase costly fire safety equipment. During its initial year, nine fire departments will receive a total of $150,000. Recognizing its life-saving importance, the Florida Legislature increased second-year funding to $1 million.Florida’s Firefighter Grant Assistance Program with a check delivered to the Monticello Volunteer Fire Department

CFO Patronis said, "Florida’s firefighters lay their lives on the line every day to protect our friends and family, and I’m proud to lead a program that will help them purchase better protective gear. As this new program grows, we’ll keep working until every fire department across Florida has the resources they need to keep themselves and our citizens safe."

An estimated 12 million Floridians depend on the services and protection provided by volunteer firefighters, yet a wide variety of fire departments lack the financial resources needed to supply firefighters with current safety equipment and training.

Monticello Volunteer Fire Chief Lester Lawrence said, "Volunteer fire departments are often underfunded, and this program answers a call for help from the fire service community. The Florida Fire Chiefs Association (FFCA) values a close working relationship with the State Fire Marshal, and we appreciate the efforts made by CFO Patronis and the entire State Fire Marshal team to address this issue."

Representative Halsey Beshears, who co-sponsored the 2016 legislation (HB 651) that created the program, joined CFO Patronis to deliver the check.

Representative Halsey Beshears said, "I’ve seen the needs of volunteer fire departments first hand, and I know this program will save lives by offering better protection to the first responders who run straight into dangerous situations. I thank Chief Patronis for offering me the opportunity to join him in delivering the very first grant funds."

The application process for 2017-2018 grant funding is open now. All fire departments open for more than five years can apply. To qualify, all applicants must complete a needs assessment survey to outline their need and intended use of grant funds. A committee of fire service leaders review and approve all applications. The application is available here.

Operation S.A.F.E.Operation S.A.F.E., Be Scam Smart Workshops in Tampa on July 18 and 19

Florida Chief Financial Officer Jimmy Patronis invites you to participate in Operation S.A.F.E., Be Scam Smart, a free workshop for seniors, their families, and caregivers.

The Florida Department of Financial Services launched Operation S.A.F.E. (Stop Adult Financial Exploitation) as part of CFO Patronis’ On Guard for Seniors initiative. Be Scam Smart workshops help inform, empower, and protect Florida’s seniors from financial scams and fraud. If you want to make sure your savings are protected, register for this workshop and get a better understanding of how scam artists and scams work.

Be Scam Smart by learning more about:

  • How to Spot Fraudulent Behavior – Are you at risk?
  • Common Scams that Target Seniors – Is this too good to be true?
  • How to Fight Identity Theft – Protect, Prevent, Police

Feedback from seniors who attended a Be Scam Smart workshop:

“Really learned a lot of valuable information.” - Jacksonville
“This was a very valuable topic of interest in our present world.” - Arcadia
“I live alone and learned a lot of helpful information that I can share with other seniors.” - Zephyrhills
“As a result of this presentation I will be more aware of what is going on around me.” - Pensacola
“The info was very good and eyes opened more than ever.” - Ormond Beach


Find out more about us in the About Us section or Register for an upcoming event, including the following workshops:

Tuesday, July 18th – Tampa
9:30 a.m. – 11:00 a.m.
Town N’ Country Senior Center, 7606 Paula Drive, Tampa, FL 33615
Register | Directions | Flyer


Wednesday, July 19th – Tampa
10:00 a.m. – 11:00 a.m.
Palm Terrace Assisted Living and Adult Daycare, 5121 E. Serena Drive,Tampa, FL 33617
Register | Directions | Flyer

Please let us know if you would like to request a workshop in your area.

Florida Economic Briefs

Florida companies receive high private equity investment
According to recently released data, Florida ranked 4th in the nation for private equity investment in companies in the state in 2014, with $33.9 billion. The biggest concentration of investment went to companies in the Jacksonville area ($6.6 billion) and the St. Petersburg area ($4.2 billion).
Source: Private Equity Growth Capital Council

Florida cities show strong job growth
The Orlando-Kissimmee-Sanford metro area saw the 5th best overall job growth among large cities in 2016. Other cities that ranked well include The Villages (3rd among small cities) and Cape Coral-Ft. Myers (8th among medium cities).
Source: New Geography