RESTORE Act discussed by Washington County Commissioners

Published: Thursday, February 21, 2013 at 03:01 PM.

The 35 percent that is slated for the states will be divided equally, with Florida receiving 7 percent — 75 percent of that amount is destined for the “disproportionately impacted counties,” Escambia, Santa Rosa, Okaloosa, Walton, Bay, Gulf, Franklin and Wakulla.

Washington County hopes to be one of the non-disproportionately affected counties, which will share the remaining 25 percent of the funds, DeRuntz said.

“We’re not identified specifically by name, because we don’t have coast lines to the Gulf,” DeRuntz said. “But there is language in the bill that states that counties within 25 miles of the Gulf can apply.”

DeRuntz said that for the county to apply for RESTORE Act funds, several steps would have to be taken, including creating a committee of stakeholders and identifying projects which meet the federal grant parameters, which include things such as promotion of seafood, conservation and land acquisition, workforce development and tourism/fishing promotion.

“If we put a grant in, it has to focus on these grant parameters,” DeRuntz said. Tasks such as updating the county parks map or developing a watershed management plan are two such projects the county could pursue under the RESTORE Act funding.

“I think we should definitely go after this,” said Board Chairman Alan Bush. “The major north-south corridors run right through Washington County, so there is no way we weren’t impacted by this, and we should be able to show that.”

Commissioner Charles Brock said he knew of several people in southern Washington County who lost their jobs following the Deepwater Horizon oil spill due to the economic downturn in Bay County. “I know for a fact the people in the south end of District 3 were impacted hard.”

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