Gulf Consortium Members Review RESTORE Act Draft Plan With Residents

BAY COUNTY, Fla. - On Monday night, the floor was open for Bay County residents to weigh in on how BP oil spill money will be spent.

The Florida Gulf Counties Consortium held a public hearing to review a draft of the RESTORE Act State Expenditure Plan.

Leaders from Bay, Escambia, and Okaloosa counties met with residents to discuss the third group of funds from the RESTORE Act after the Deepwater Horizon disaster in 2010.

Bay County is in line for two projects.

"One is the North Bay Treatment Facility, where we talked about with Deer Point and the other is a small project of Grand Lagoon for a pumping station to clean it up," said Bay County Commissioner, Griff Griffitts.

Griffitts, who's also representing this area as a Director for the Gulf Counties Consortium, says one resident in Deer Point expressed concern.

"He's a citizen that lives on Deer Point Lake and he's very concerned about the water quality. He is on septic tanks, and would love to get off septic tanks and that's something citizens would love to get off of in the future."

The plan includes $294 million over 15 years. A little over $12 million will be spent in each county on specific projects. 

"There's a lot of matching funds involved with grant writings. Some of it have caveats that we have to deal with. So, it's still a work in progress. But we're obviously getting closer to where we can get some funding for these projects," said Griffitts.

Comments on the proposal will be accepted through March 2nd.

Griffitts hopes the consortium will have the RESTORE Act State Expenditure Plan approved in late May or early June.

He says hopefully Bay County will see some of that money in the second half of this year.

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