Last week Governor Rick Scott signed the state's $70 billion spending plan into law. Although more than $140 million in line-items were vetoed by Scott, seven statewide beach management projects survived the cut.
The General Appropriations Act for fiscal year 2012-13 provides nearly $22 million for beach projects, including Captiva. The Captiva Erosion Prevention District (CEPD) will receive 20 percent of that money -- $4.5 million for its approximately $18 million project.
"It was a demonstration of very broad community support," said CEPD chair Jim Boyle about Captiva receiving the much-needed state funding. "Both island residents and business owners came together in letter writing campaigns to their legislators.
Sanibel Mayor Kevin Ruane and Commissioner John Manning were also very helpful by promoting our project and ensuring that everyone in Tallahassee understood the importance of the project," Boyle said. "Commissioner Manning followed up his visit to Tallahassee with letters stressing the importance of the project to the continuing economic recovery in Lee County."
While CEPD is still waiting to learning if it will receive funds from US Army Corp of Engineers for its beach nourishment project; the remaining funds will come from Lee County and island property owners. Actual work on the beach nourishment project could begin late this year.
In addition to funding for beach nourishment projects, the state's budget includes millions of dollars for a variety of projects and services throughout Lee County.
The Bob Janes Triage Center in Fort Myers received $250,000 in new funding. It will allow the center to provide much-needed help to 58 additional people per night. The center, named for the late county commissioner, helps individuals who are at risk of committing minor nonviolent crimes and suffer from a behavioral health crisis.
The Florida Gulf Coast University will get $4.9 million to initiate work on its Innovation Hub, a 5-acre complex within a 240-acre research park that will be home to a 50,000 square foot research center. The project is estimated to cost $12 million.
Scott has called this an "education budget" because it touts an additional $1 billion in state funding for schools.
"I have heard loud and clear that Floridians want their money spent on jobs and education, without additional burdens on families and businesses, and this budget accomplishes that," said Scott.
Highlights of the $66.4 billion proposed budget for FY 2012-2013 include:
New tax relief measures totaling nearly $35 million in taxpayer savings next year, and over $86 million in FY 2013-14
Injecting $300 million in the Florida Retirement System pension fund
Reducing state spending by 4.6 percent close to FY 2005-06 levels
Adjusting Medicaid reimbursement methodologies to control soaring costs
Efficiencies and savings for Florida taxpayers as a result of 40 year low crime rates