When it comes to state funding for projects, Pasco had some wins and losses, during the last session of the Florida Legislature.
Ralph Lair, Pasco County’s intergovernmental officer and members of Sunrise Consulting Group, the county’s Tallahassee lobbying team, briefed the Pasco County Commission on some of the highlights during the board’s June 7 meeting.
One of Pasco County’s budget priorities that made it into the budget, but was axed by Gov. Ron DeSantis’ veto pen, called for $14 million for the second phase of the Ridge Road Extension.
The governor also slashed a request by Moffitt Cancer Center for a $20 a million a year, which would have been recurring for 30 years, Lair said.
That would have paid out $600 million over time, which Moffitt was going to use to build its hospital, Lair said.
On the plus side, DeSantis retained $106 million in funding intended for infrastructure related to the Moffitt project, Lair noted.
Shawn Foster, of the Sunrise team, added: “I know some of you had some major concerns.”
But he reminded board members that Moffitt got $23 million a year last year, though an increase in the sales tax for cigarettes.
Lair said DeSantis also vetoed $35 million intended for a a sports complex and about $5 million for an intersection project near the Florida Pioneer Museum & Village.
He also noted the veto of a $7.1 million request by Pasco Schools for a partnership school with Moffitt Cancer.
“The Sheriff’s Office had two projects. One of their items was vetoed for their office community outreach and engagement initiative for $150,000; but they did receive $3.2 million for a center for recovery for endangered and missing persons,” Lair added.
Pasco County did receive $2 million for Green Key drainage improvements and $5.9 million for right-of-way improvements relating to Lacoochee industrial development.
The Pasco County Fair Association got $2.5 million to do a barn replacement and the Pasco County Housing Authority received $700,000 for a 77-unit affordable housing for veterans, Lair added.
On the municipal front, Dade City received $9 million for the extension of Morningside Drive and a $4.2 million appropriation for a five-point intersection roundabout, which will be over on Meridian/St. Joe Road/State Road 52.
Commissioner Ron Oakley noted that the roundabout project was scheduled for two years from now, but the funding was brought forward so it can happen now.
A big-ticket item for Dade City, however, fell victim to DeSantis’ veto pen: A $39.7 million project to do a replacement of the city’s wastewater treatment plant and a relocation was struck from the budget.
The City of San Antonio received state funding for two projects: $600,000 for a stormwater management project and $900,000 for a sewer extension project.
The city’s request for $500,000 to harden its historic fire station was vetoed.
“The City of Zephyrhills was our big winner in our community,” Lair said. The projects involved a sewer and water main extension; airport improvements; and, a street extension into the planned National Guard Armory.
Lair also noted that Saint Leo University received $15 million for a multipurpose arena complex, but also had two items vetoed.
Gov. Ron DeSantis Veto Items
Before signing the state’s budget, Gov. Ron DeSantis vetoed 443 items, totaling $3.1 billion. Here’s a look at some of the local items rejected by the governor:
- Ridge Road Extension Phase 2B: $14 million
- Sports Training and Youth Tournament Complex: $35 million
- Moffitt Pasco County Life Sciences Park: $20 million per year for 30 years
- Pasco-Hernando State College, remodel buildings A through E and Chiller Plant, west: $22.5 million
- University of South Florida, Environmental & Oceanographic Sciences, Research & Teaching Facility, $75 million
- Saint Leo University Organic Farm (The Farm) Initiative. $311,000
- Two Saint Leo University programs relating to its Robotics Engineering Degree and Microcredentials Program: $1.2 million
- Bills relating to Academy at the Farm: $11.8 million
- Bills relating to Moffitt Cancer Center Partnership School: $7.1 million
- Tampa Bay Thrives: Behavioral Health Navigation and Support Line: $300,000
- Pasco County Sheriff’s Office Community Outreach and Engagement Initiative: $150,000
- Bills relating to Pioneer Florida Museum: $5.3 million
- Bills relating to Tampa Bay Area Regional Transit Authority: $1.4 million
- San Antonio City Hall & Fire Station Hardening: $60,000
- Pasco County Cultural Arts: $2 million
Source: 2022 veto list of Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis
Published June 15, 2022