Sen. Gainer, Rep. Drake hold delegation meeting in Washington County

Senator George Gainer and State Representative Brad Drake held their Washington County Legislative Delegation meeting Tuesday, Jan. 4, in the Board of County Commissioners board room.

Held before the beginning of the new legislative session, the meeting gives municipalities and other local agencies the opportunity to request support or funding for specific projects through state appropriations.

Requests heard Tuesday included:

The Board of County Commissioners had four requests: $2.7 million to make Hartford Road a corridor between Highway 77 and Highway 231, giving residents in the south end of the county access between the two major thoroughfares. Drake has already pushed this particular initiative through the House, and commissioners asked that Gainer do the same. Commissioners also requested an additional $3 million to complete the countywide broadband project, as well as $700,000 to make parking improvements at the recently refurbished agriculture center, and $450,000 to complete the drainage improvements at Crystal Lake.

The City of Chipley requested an additional $229,600 for effluent sprayfield expansion project due to supply chain issues increasing the cost of materials.  Funding was also requested for a paving improvement project for Pecan Street in the amount of $500,000.

The Town of Wausau made a request in the amount of $588,000, which will be used to finish Phase II of the Possum Palace upgrade. The Town also asked for an endorsement for their FDOT paving projects on Jefferson and Jackson Streets.

Washington County School District asked for support for their line item in the Department of Education’s budget for building a new Voluntary Pre-K (VPK) center in the south end of the county. The district also requested assistance in speeding up the process for districts to receive allocations from the Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER) III funds.

Two other entities asked delegates assist them in obtaining an increase to their statewide budgets for the next budget year. Florida Cultural Arts Alliance requested an increase from $23 million to $69 million in order to fund various grants through their program. Washington County Public Library Director Renae Rountree requested an increase to the State Aid Library fund in order for local libraries keep providing services in their respective communities but did not ask for a specific amount.

Look for an in-depth report on Senator Gainer and Representative Drake’s 2022 legislative priorities upcoming online and in the next edition of the Washington County News.